|Good grief! I was such a blockhead...|
I remember my first Christmas as a married man. We were visiting my parents. I was walking in the pasture with my dad and brother, and we came across a little grove of cedar trees. I said, “It would be really cool if we could cut down one of these for our apartment.” So we did. I came walking back to the house dragging our first Christmas tree. How awesome was I? We didn’t spend a dime for that tree, and it was much more special than anything we could’ve gotten from one of those Christmas tree lots. But when we got the tree into our apartment in Houston, it looked awfully small. It wouldn’t even hold most of our ornaments. My sweet young wife didn’t say anything, but the first time one of my friends saw it, he said, “You got Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree!”
I think a lot of us get suckered in by Christmas every year. This is the year I’m going to buy the perfect gift for the people I love. They’ll open it, and their face will light up, and I’ll know that they love me now more than ever before. This is the year my long-lost loved one will come home. This is the year we’ll be able to get through dinner without arguing. In fact, we’ll apologize to each other and hug it out. Our Christmas songs, movies and commercials all make us think it’s possible, because magical stuff is supposed to happen at Christmas. I get that Red Ryder BB gun, or luxury car with a big red bow on it. My lousy miser uncle becomes a new man and shows up for Christmas dinner in a good mood. My redneck cousin kidnaps my boss, and instead of arresting me, the boss gives me a bonus big enough for me to install a pool. Like Charlie Brown, we think this will finally be the year we kick the football, but every year, Christmas pulls that ball away from us, and we end up flat on our backs. The post-Christmas blues are a terrible thing. The season is over, work starts again tomorrow, and you’re surrounded by dirty dishes, gifts that need exchanging, and unpaid bills. But it doesn’t have to be that way.