Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Messages - 2011

"Seasons Greetings." "Happy Holidays." "Merry Christmas." 'Peace On Earth." "Bah Humbug."

Goodness mercy me! I've spent literally hours looking for just the right greeting and that perfect image to include in my holiday message to family and friends, but it seems that no matter what I might say or how I say it I'm bound to offend "someone." In the meantime, the cards and emails keep coming:  religious, funny, horsey, satirical, beautiful, not so beautiful, some with simple messages, some with dire warnings that I'd better be good or else.

None of these cards "offend" me. Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm profoundly touched that people take the time to send a greeting card of any kind - it could contain a few ashes and small twigs for all I care. At least I'm on somebody's list, so one way or the other they must be thinking about me. And each card usually produces more than a few flashbacks of delicious times together - the warm and fuzzy kind as well as the epicurean kind.

There's a lot I don't like about the holiday season, such as the shopping frenzies and the misguided notion that Christmas is all about gifts, but I unabashedly and wholeheartedly love the music, the classic kind, the kind that transports one's heart and soul to a realm of contentment and peace not found in many other places. NPR's classical music station has been offering a steady diet of traditional and incredibly beautiful Christmas music for over a week and my spirits simply soar with it.

So, when someone objects to another's Christmas card for whatever reason, it jars my senses and destroys my inner peace. I become not just offended, I resent the heck out of it. Where's the spirit of Christmas in this? Would Sarah Palin have objected less if the official White House card had looked like this 2004 card from George W. Bush?

Or, maybe this one from Reagan in 1989.

Or this one from Bush in 2005.

Oops! Maybe not. Poor Bo. He destroyed Christmas at the White House just by lying all snug and warm in front of a beautifully decorated fireplace while visions of sugarbones danced through his head.

Compared to most of the official White House cards, which can be found here, I frankly find this one pretty inviting. I just want to step into the picture, sit before the fire with Bo and enjoy the warmth of the Christmas spirit while listening to some beautiful choral music.

The spirit of Christmas and the holiday season means many different things to different people, of course, and that's as it should be. While I don't find offence with anyone's message or their method of celebration, I do become highly offended when the spirit of Christmas is sullied by politics or cheap criticism of another's message. This is a time to embrace our families and enjoy our friends, or if one's church is their center, to attend services of their choice. If religion plays a minimal role or no role at all, it is a time to share a family's love.

To me, the Christmas spirit is all about family. Music is a close second but my family ranks first and foremost when I think of the holiday season. We are a microcosm of society as a whole with no two of the many of us agreeing on much of anything. We're kind of like fruitcake as a matter of fact - lots of nuts and fruits of different flavors all held together by love in the form of molasses and a little flour. As we "cure", we grow stronger and sweeter and our many flavors are enhanced and multiplied. My family is the center of my universe and my reason for being. I wish all of them large doses of love and hopes for a very merry Christmas.

Friends - in real life and those I've met through blogging and on Facebook - are the spirits which just keep on giving - all year long. I'm happy to say we don't always agree on everything either. How dull would that be? Your gifts of knowledge which you so willingly share, your challenges to my way of thinking that may, or may not, bring me around to your way of thinking, your friendship and support are the best gifts a blogger can receive. I wish all of you a warm and wonderful holiday season.

I'd like to finish by sharing the last part of Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelo. This is a very moving poem and was first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices to celebrate the promise of
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation: 
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul


  1. "I just want to step into the picture, sit before the fire with Bo and enjoy the warmth of the Christmas spirit while listening to some beautiful choral music."

    Leslie, I couldn't agree MORE! I'm not an Obama fan, but that card is really pretty and I could climb into it and snuggle with Bo.

    What is wrong that people have to find everything wrong with the Obama's? It's beyond ridiculous.

    This is the season to be happy and joyous and rid your heart of darkness. Guess lots of people didn't get THAT message, eh?

    Oh well, we can't control idiots, unfortunately.

    On a happier note...I hope YOU have a very Merry Christmas!

  2. There is an African chant that asks, “What music will my soul play when the god inside me wants to dance?” Like you, nothing speaks to me of Christas spirit like the carols, traditional, popular and even children’s songs.

    My buddy Chris came to visit the last two days, and we listened to every Christmas CD I have – everything from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Hallejuah Chorus” to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” to an album of various artists singing “Ave, Maria.”

    Most who know me know that Chris is a 28-year-old “innocent” who is my friend and helper. Mentally challenged, he amazes me always with his wisdom. As we were eating lunch Friday, he said, “I believe in Santa Claus, and these guys at the workshop told me there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.” I asked, “What did you say to them, Chris?” And he replied, “I told them it didn’t matter anyway, because Santa Claus is for little kids.”

    Now, to top off a perfect cuuple of days, I come online in the wee, small hours and find this beautiful post.

    Merry Christmas, Leslie.


  3. "This is a time to embrace our families and enjoy our friends, or if one's church is their center, to attend services of their choice. If religion plays a minimal role or no role at all, it is a time to share a family's love."

    So very true. L.P., I wish you and yours the warmth of closeness shared, old memories re-enjoyed and new ones made together.

  4. Thank you for my Christmas card! It's absolutely beautiful.

    (p.s. Coal and switches in Sarah's stocking, the witch.)

  5. Even an ol' athiest like me knows what the TRUE meaning of Christmas is! My warmest wishes to you, and may your New Year bring you many more blessings!!

  6. Loved your card!!! Loved the Obama's card and a pox on Sarah Palin! (Why in the H-E-double hockey sticks is anyone still giving her any credibility?) Merry Christmas!!! Happy Holidays!!!!! Happy Solstice!!!!

  7. Beautiful post, Leslie. Thank you.

    Family IS the most important part of the holiday season, and ever more poignant as the older generations leave us.

    Wishing you a lovely holiday season surrounded by those you love and who love you.


  8. @Pam: You are proof positive that there are conservatives with brains and heart - to say nothing of class. The fact that you even come here to comment gives me hope that one day, hopefully sooner than later, we can all stop with the hate. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.

    @BJ: Thanks for that lovely quote. I can dig it. Chris is a rare gift who's innocence obviously brings you much joy. Merry Christmas to him and to you.

    @SW: What a beautiful sentiment. Thank you and I hope you and yours share such warm memories during this holiday season.

    @Nance: I don't think I've written anything about her in over a year and a half but she just seems to keep interrupting my peaceful reveries. I don't wish her anything bad - just to go away and take her oddities with her. I hope you and my boyfriend have a lovely Christmas.

    @intelliwitch: My blessings come wrapped up in my family and in the form of bloggers like you. Good cheer to you and the Wiener.

    @Kay: Merry Christmas to you and I hope 2012 brings you good health and much happiness.

  9. May peace, love and happiness exist for you this and every season. Merry Christmas, Leslie. You have a very powerful post. Thank you.

  10. A very merry Christmas to you, Leslie, and a happy and productive 2012 as well!

  11. @Cheryl: I hope your Christmas is extra warm, cheerful and merry this year. You and Mr. G. deserve all of it and more. Here's hoping for a rainy 2012.

    @Jack: Thanks and to you too. Keep pounding out those great blog posts of yours.