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Padre Steve Gets into the Christmas Spirit in Spite of Himself

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“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is about?” Charlie Brown

Well, it it still Advent but despite all my heartfelt leanings of liturgical calendar correctness I have caught the Christmas spirit early this year. I don’t know why, especially because I can be such a Grinch this time of year.

It began last week when I had to make 8 dozen cookies for our annual “cookie exchange” at the hospital where I serve. We had the exchange on Friday and it was combined with our Christmas Tree (Holiday Tree for those more politically correct than this moderate liberal) lighting.

Let’s face it without Martin Luther we wouldn’t do the Christmas tree thing anyway, the Calvinists that first settled this country were such party-poopers that that they thought the whole concept of celebrating Christmas was sinful. (See my article Christian Grinch’s: How the Puritans nearly stole Christmas  http://wp.me/prGqV-1tg  ) So I guess if we want to play the whole politically correct thing the Calvinists forefathers and mothers of our current Evangelical Christian defenders of “Christmas” actually had more in common with the current critics of the holiday than its defenders? But I digress…

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Martin Luther with his family at Christmas

So in the spirit of Martin Luther, that beer drinking foul mouthed German instigator of the Protestant Reformation, I have gotten into the Christmas spirit. For the first time since I was in Iraq I feel an eager anticipation of the coming of Christmas.

Puritan Christmas Ban

The Puritan’s Idea of a Very Calvin Christmas

Like I said it began last week. First there was my cookie baking adventure The Easy Baking Bachelor of Christmastide which was a success. In fact I plan on repeating it to some extent tonight, gifts for my minions at work and friends at the bar tomorrow. The cookie exchange took place Friday. I brought in the cookies and when I got to work one of the fellow members of the board of directors asked me if I was going to change into my dress blues as I was wearing my khakis. It was at that point that I thought to myself “Oh shit.” I had forgotten that those of us on the board of directors who are on active duty actually dress up when we do this. You see my dress blue uniform was hanging in my apartment, 25 miles away. Since I had to attend one of those good occasions where we were promoting a couple of dozen young sailors I could not leave immediately to change into the uniform.

I was happy to see the Sailors get promoted but I was not happy about having to make the trip home and back. Yes I could have weaseled my way out of the dress blue uniform but as much of a weasel as I can be I hate to look obvious. So when the ceremony ended at 0900 I dashed to my office, grabbed my cover, which is what we in the Navy call a hat and ran out to my car. I made it home in good time and then things started going to hell.

Molly, my little dog Molly decided that she needed to go out and since I was home early she assumed that I had all day to indulge her. It was a power fight, the little Papillon-Dachshund mix decided that she would fart around. Eventually I got her inside and went to get in my uniform, which to my surprise still had the large medals which I had on it for a change of command ceremony I had been participated in, and which I had to switch out for mere ribbons. I hurriedly changed the ribbons, gave Molly her “cookie” (not one of the chocolate chuck cookies but a dog treat) changed into my uniform and dashed to the car.

At that point something happened in me. It was as if I was having a Grinch moment, but in a good way: As the story goes: “And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”

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It was a damn close run adventure getting back to the base on time. It seemed that if there was a red light that I caught it and to make matters worse, if there was a minnie-van driven by a doddering retiree or soccer mom who decided to do 5 miles an hour under the speed limit in the left hand lane I got behind them. In between praying and cussing and dodging in and out of impossible traffic situations I realized that I really wanted to make it on time. It was as if the Force was with me as I wove in and out of the insidiously poor drivers who could not drive nails and should not be behind the controls of modern automobiles.

Now this was strange because such ceremonial events are usually, no matter what the occasion are painful for me to attend, being that I am mildly introverted and anti-social. It was like when the Grinch’s grew and he had to dash to Whoville to save Christmas. It was almost a conversion experience, a Christmas miracle if you will. I was possessed with the need to make it on time despite the obstacles.

Despite construction zones, slow drivers hogging the fast lane, and traffic lights I was able to get to the hospital parking lot at 1028 with the ceremony scheduled to begin at 1030. I had no time to waste. Our employee parking lots are not convenient to getting into the building fast. We reserve that right for patients and visitors. This is probably a good business and PR practice but not helpful at this particular moment. So I found an empty spot in the outfield got out of my car and started to run. It was like the good old days before O.J. Simpson allegedly killed his wife Nicole, when he ran through airports in a suit for Hertz Rent-A-Car in TV commercials. I was flying. This is the great thing about being in shape and not straining to get into the uniform. I ran up the hill by our ER and down the hill, jumped curbs, ditches, and barriers as I wove between pedestrians and cars in the parking lot.  Marines, Sailors and civilians looked at crazy Navy officer dashing through the lot with amazement. Surely they though it must be an emergency, and in a sense it was. I was running out of time and I had to give the invocation.

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I made it on time and then the ceremony was delayed for 15 minutes. I breathed a sigh of relief and found that my heart had indeed grown three sizes that day because I was not cussing and swearing and acting like a complete idiot. It was a Christmas miracle. The ceremony went well and the two hours of conversations and chit-chatting that followed was enjoyable despite the uncomfortableness of my patent leather military issue shoes. I breathed a sigh of relief and knew that all was well in my world. When the day was done I went home and hung out with Molly before doing usual grilled chicken salad dinner at the neighborhood bar.

One would think that the story would end there but then one would be wrong. I carried the duty pager over the weekend and at about 0100 Saturday morning it went off. It was a call from the Emergency Room. A man was in cardiac arrest and I was needed. I rolled out of bed, waking up Molly who looked offended and I put on my uniform to head to the hospital. When I got there the patient had died, but I spent time and prayed with his wife, then other members of the family who arrived over the next hour. When all was done I drove back home where I woke up Molly, who by the way does not think kindly to being woken up at 0415.

The rest of the weekend was relatively uneventful. I went to our hospital Christmas party  Saturday night which was nice and on Sunday celebrated a Eucharist at home after sleeping late for the Second Sunday of Advent. I was tired but I felt great.

So this morning, despite not sleeping well due to holding the duty pager I got up and prepared for work. I had made one mistake however. I assumed that the North Carolina DOT had made appropriate traffic arrangements for traffic control since the bridge that connects us with the mainland is down to one lane due to the resurfacing of the road on it. I anticipated a 10-15 minute delay at the most, however the contractor did not use flagmen but used a timed traffic signal. The result was a traffic nightmare. It took an hour and a half to cover two miles. However instead of ranting and raving as might be my custom I decided instead of listening to news, political commentary, ESPN or even the 70’s channel to tune in to the Sirius radio station that played Christmas songs. It was great and I didn’t stress out. It took nearly 2 and a half hours to get to work today, normally it is about 35-45 minutes. But in that time I realized that I didn’t need to be a Christmas Grinch after all and that my dash to hospital on Friday was not a mistake.

So tonight, I made more cookies to distribute to my minions and friends tomorrow and watched my favorite television Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch that Stole Christmas. 

I am enjoying the lead up to Christmas for the first time in a long time and it feels good. I do hope that in spite of the Fiscal Cliff and all the problems of the world that maybe more people will have a Grinch conversion moment this year and perhaps like Charlie Brown discover the meaning of Christmas, not only now but all year round…

Christmas time is here

We’ll be drawing near

Oh, that we could always see

Such spirit through the year

Oh, that we could always see

Such spirit through the year…

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Laughing All the Way: Padre Steve’s Favorite Christmas Films and TV Shows

christmas-vacation

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye.”

This is the time of year that a lot of Christmas movies are shown on almost every television outlet known to humanity.  Of course there are many that are absolutely timeless such as Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and its derivatives and It’s a Wonderful Life.

There are also ones of various religious themes, usually involving the birth of Jesus, like no duh, it’s Christmas. Unfortunately most of these films as classic as they are bore me to tears.  Yes they have nice messages and tug at the heartstrings but without wanting to sound too much like Scrooge I get bored by them, frightfully bored.

I guess part of this is a generational thing.  The ones set in the 1930s and 1940s are from a different era, an era that I know from history books and family members but not something that is a part of my life.  It’s like the film The Bell’s of Saint Mary’s is about the Roman Catholic Church of a half century ago, not the one that I know or that exists now.  They are fictional and while touching are indelibly tied to their time.  The religious themed films tended often to be major productions of the Hollywood Gospel genre, not very faithful to Scripture or the teachings of the church, not that there is anything wrong with that.  But it is certain to me that Cecil B. De Mille did not write the 5th Gospel, or the 6th Book of Moses (You have to know your Luther Bible for that one) thus I have a hard time with films that use the nativity or for that matter the passion of Christ for a quick buck.

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However, every year, there are several Christmas movies and television shows that I cannot live without seeing.  Of the television shows my all time favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  As a kid I had a deep affinity for both Charlie Brown and Linus. The frustration of Charlie Brown with the commercialization of Christmas was something that resonated in me at a young age and still does today. If you want to see this just look at my articles on Black Friday.  Likewise Linus’ reading of the Luke’s account of the Angel’s message to the shepherds always brings tears to my eyes.  There is something about the sensitivity of Linus to the actual Gospel message that resonates in my heart.

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As for the Grinch, and I mean the television Grinch where Boris Karloff voiced the part of the Grinch not the Jim Carey movie version, it has always been a favorite of mine.  I find the plot of the Grinch to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville to be a masterful account of how the message of Christmas can touch even the smallest and coldest of hearts.  Of course I absolutely loved the Grinch’s dog “Max” a dog whose loyalty to the Grinch reminds me of my dog Molly.

As far as movies are concerned I watch Scrooged staring Bill Murray and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation staring Chevy Chase with almost a religious reverence every year.

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I relate to the main characters in both movies.  That’s not necessarily a compliment to me. Bill Murray’s Character in Scrooged pricks my cynical nature and there are times that I almost need to cover my eyes when in Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold kicks the decorative reindeer and sleigh across the lawn when he can’t get his house lights on.  His rants when his Christmas Tree goes up in flames and when his family tries to leave the house are so close to the way that I can act under the stress of the holidays that is scary.  Since Judy says this is the case I know that I am not imagining this.

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Three other films that get me are Home Alone and A Christmas Story and though it is not really a Christmas story Trading Places staring Dan Aykroyd whose Christmas season meltdown is at the center of a film about the greed of certain parts of the American financial sector.

These are what I grew up with and which were the films about Christmas as it takes place in the United States that I became an adult in that typify my era, not that of my grandparents.  I think that is why they are my favorites and not the classics of a bygone time.

festivus-card

Of course there is the Festivus episode of Seinfeld that is almost scary because of how close to home it hits. There are times that I think we only lacked the “feats of strength” and the Festivus Pole to complete the picture.  Sticking to Seinfeld I always feel a twinge of sympathy for George when makes up a fake charity called “The Human Fund: Money for People” to give to his co-workers at Kruger Industrial Smoothing. There are times that I am tempted, but thankfully never will do something similar.

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Finally I like the X-Files Christmas episode How the Ghosts Stole Christmas where Ed Asner and Lilly Tomlin played ghosts in a haunted house that Agents Scully and Mulder get trapped in while investigating a case. When I go shopping anywhere this time of year I am quite fond of Agent Scully’s comment to Mulder: “Sorry. Checkout lines were worse than rush-hour on the 95. If I heard “Silent Night” one more time, I was gonna start taking hostages.” 

Okay, so these are not the classics of a bygone era, but they are my classics and I will enjoy Charlie Brown, Linus, the Grinch, Clark Griswold, Frank Cross, the Costanzas Agents Mudler and Scully and the rest of my warped favorites as I continue to rediscover the joy and hilarity of Christmas as we celebrate it in the United States. After all, to quote Clark Griswold “We’re all in this together.”

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Favorite Non-Religious Christmas and Holiday Music

I love Christmas music and of course that music spans both the sacred realm as well as the not so sacred realm. Today I was in a store amid crowds or rather hoards of crazed 6 and a half shopping days until Christmas trying to avoid being trampled when behold I heard the soothing sounds of Karen Carpenter singing Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. In the maelstrom of the merchandise mad mom’s and toy seeking tots and guys praying that if they just spend enough money that they can win their sweetheart’s heart one more time the song took me away to a peaceful place far, far away until a wild eyed woman dove into the clearance bin that I was standing by nearly knocking me down like a linebacker blitzing a defenseless quarterback.

Despite the fact that my foray into the fog and confusion of war nearly caused me injury the mere thought of that song in the sad yet soothing voice of Karen Carpenter I began to think of other Christmas and Holiday songs that I like which are not of the sacred variety.  So here they are, Padre Steve’s favorite non-religious Christmas and Holiday music songs.

From a sentimental point of view my absolute favorite is Karen Carpenter’s version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  I don’t know what it is about the song but it is one of those rare songs that calms me and makes me appreciate the relational aspects of Christmas.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vZwWJMAoTA

Not far down my sentimental favorites list is Bing Crosby and his timeless performance of White Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aShUFAG_WgM which as I understand is the most popular Christmas song ever recorded even in Tajikistan.

Nate King Cole recorded this beautiful song back in 1946 The Christmas Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG5VPji-SpU and early rock and roll Christmas songs like Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock and Rocking around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee and if you think of Rock and Roll you have to include the King, Elvis Presley and Blue Christmas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ODrPL9-kEs&feature=related

One of the earliest Christmas songs that I remember was Christmas don’t be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTG0fTLAlU I heard it today at the local 7-Eleven and had a wonderful chat with the lady behind the counter.

Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTG0fTLAlU is one of the few things in Spanish that I know besides what is on the menu at Mexican restaurants.

The title song to A Charlie Brown Christmas entitled Christmas Time is Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPG3zSgm_Qo was always one of my favorites mainly because I have always loved that show.

Since there are very few songs about New Year I have to mention Happy New Year by Abba http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcLMH8pwusw&feature=related

My golden old kid Christmas songs include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6OC7Y4n3xs and Here Comes Santa Claus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0BOIdwUiqA&feature=related by Gene Autry

Then there are the more irreverent songs like Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Randy and Ronnie Brooks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG5VPji-SpU

I could go on and you could probably add more songs so in the last few days before Christmas, take a few minutes to enjoy the music, and without getting hurt at the mall have a wonderful Christmas.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Padre Steve’s Meditation on the Nativity

“Actually, Lucy, my trouble is Christmas. I just don’t understand it. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.” Charlie Brown in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”


When Christmas comes and you struggle with faith, see little hope and even despair of life, even the thought of Christmas coming can make the season even more difficult.  I know, I have gone through this since my return from Iraq.  Christmas 2008 was so frightful due to PTSD symptoms, insomnia, anxiety, depression and a crisis in faith that I could see little to hope in.  It was so difficult that before Mass began at the Abbess’s parish that I couldn’t stay.  I walked home in the cold and dark, not directly home but the long way looking up at the heavens and wondering if God was even there.  For the first time in my life I could really relate to Charlie Brown.  That as I have mentioned before was actually a terrifying thought.  Even in the darkest of times in seminary I never lost hope and always felt something special at Christmas.  In Iraq in 2007 I felt an incredible closeness to God as I traveled about to my advisers along the Iraqi-Syrian border having the chance to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Eucharist and spend time with our guys and distributing toys, school supplies and cold weather clothing to Bedouin families who invited us in for Ch’ai tea and food.  But in 2008 faith was dry and hope, well hope was something that I prayed for as I walked home that Christmas Eve.

This year has been one of ups and downs but I have noticed that I have been feeling better the past few weeks.  Yes I still have problems sleeping but I am actually trying to get to bed earlier but I still have my struggles with faith and God but unlike last year I am looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s Incarnation.  The message of “Emmanuel, God with Us” is something that I find resonating again.  Maybe it was in that moment a couple of weeks back where I was on call and ended up having the blessing of doing an anointing, or “last rites” of a retired Navy doctor who had done his internship at my hospital and having the experience of having him breathe his last as I completed the rites.  There was something miraculous about that man, his life and faith that allowed the Deity Herself to somehow let me be on call and respond with exactly what he desired in his final moments on this earth.  Maybe it was running into a lady who had spent two months in our ICU earlier in the year.  At numerous times her condition was so critical that it appeared that she would die. However she spotted me is I was filling my cup of water and ice in the hospital food court and pulled me aside.  She was doing great and thanked me for being there for her.  Then there were other times where I was able to get outside of my problems and be part of other people’s lives, many times those who are critically ill like Sadie Harrell who on her death bed took the time to bless those around her, give directions to her family and before asking for more pain medications telling me that it was time to pray.   I could give the accounts of numerous people, staff and patients at our hospital as well as people at church, friends that I have known for years and people that I have gotten to know through this website and Facebook as well as my friends at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and Gordon Biersch.

Some of those have been through responses of people to what I write on this website.  A few days ago I heard from the son of my ROTC training NCO Master Sergeant Harry Zilkan who passed away a few years back.  I talked about Sergeant “Z” in my post “Remembering the Veterans in my Life.”  I was honored to hear from him and hear how much he appreciated what I said about his dad.  When I started this site back in February I saw it as an outlet for me, and that it has been, at the same time I find that there are people very much like me who have walked in similar shoes who have been blessed by what I write.  This is actually quite humbling.

Like I said this year has been different. I still have a hard time with prayer though extemporaneous prayer on the behalf of others is becoming relatively normal again even if I still have not been able to resume my regular prayers of the Daily Office which died during Lent because they had become rote and were more of a duty than a part of life.  I had never expected that, but I think I will use the Nativity to begin again.

This has been a year of transition as I have struggled with a crisis of faith, the seeming absence of God, PTSD, anger, depression and anxiety the condition of my father with his Alzheimer’s disease and problems dealing with my mother.  Likewise, I find that the feeling of being vulnerable, weak and the pain of having to deal with all of those emotions for the first time that I can remember is not where I want to be, but does give me empathy for those who have lived with these feelings for years.  In a sense I have began to be part of that community.  At the same time despite all of this that faith is returning and I can sense hope again.  Even the Scriptures for the season and the songs and carols are touching me again.  The sense of tradition in the liturgy at church has been good for me since beginning to attend Saint James Episcopal Church in Portsmouth.  I am finally beginning to hope again.

For me this comes in “the fullness of time” at least my time. The scripture from Galatians comes to mind. This is part of the Sunday liturgy for the Sunday after Christmas this year:

4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our* hearts, crying, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.* Galatians 4:4-7 NRSV

I once again feel the message of deliverance spoken of by the prophet Zephaniah:

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more. Zephaniah 3:14-15

Tonight I will be at Saint James even as the Abbess sings at the 5 PM Mass at her parish.  I am looking forward to the Mass tonight.

I do pray that whatever you are doing tonight and regardless of whether you are a Christian or not that you will know joy, peace and the presence of God this season.  I think of the Jewish physicians at the Medical Center who are covering today and tomorrow to allow their Christian colleagues to attend services and be with their families.  God bless you guys, you’re the best!

As I said yesterday, Merry Christmas or whatever you do.

Peace and blessings,

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Favorite Christmas Movies and Shows

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye.”

This is the time of year that a lot of Christmas movies are shown on almost every television outlet known to humanity.  Of course there are many that are absolutely timeless such as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” There are also ones of various religious themes, usually involving the birth of Jesus, like no duh, it’s Christmas. Unfortunately most of these films as classic as they are bore me to tears.  Yes they have nice messages and tug at the heartstrings but without wanting to sound too much like Scrooge I get bored by them.  I guess part of this is a generational thing.  The ones set in the 1930s and 1940s are from a different era, an era that I know from history books and family members but not something that is a part of my life.  It’s like the film “The Bell’s of Saint Mary’s” is about the Roman Catholic Church of a half century ago, not the one that I know.  They are fictional and while touching are indelibly tied to their time.  The religious themed films tended often to be major productions and Hollywood Gospel.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I’m sorry Cecil B. De Mille did not write the 5th Gospel, or the 6th Book of Moses (You have to know your Luther Bible for that one.)

Frank Cross (Bill Murray) with the Ghost of Christmas Past

Instead every year there are several Christmas movies and television shows that I cannot live without seeing.  Of the television shows my all time favorite is “A Charlie Brown Christmas” followed by “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” As a kid I had a deep affinity for both Charlie Brown and Linus. The frustration of Charlie Brown with the commercialization of Christmas was something that resonated in me at a young age.  Likewise Linus’ reading of the Luke’s account of the Angel’s message to the shepherds always brings tears to my eyes.  As for the Grinch, and I mean the television Grinch where Boris Karloff voiced the part of the Grinch not the Jim Carey movie version it has always been a favorite of mine.  I find the plot of the Grinch to steal Christmas from the “Whos” of “Whoville” to be a masterful account of how the message of Christmas can touch even the smallest and coldest of hearts.  Of course I absolutely loved the Grinch’s dog “Max.”

As far as movies I have watched “Scrooged” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” almost religiously and am doing so tonight.  I relate to both of the main characters in both movies.  That’s not necessarily a compliment to me, but when I watch both there are times that I almost need to cover my eyes because of the resemblance, especially the scene in Christmas Vacation” where Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase starts kicking his decorative reindeer and sleigh across the lawn when he can’t get his house lights on and his rants about when his Christmas Tree goes up in flames and when his family tries to leave are scary close to the way that I can act under the stress of the holidays.  The Abbess says that this indeed is me and I agree.  Three other films that get me are “Home Alone” and “A Christmas Story” and though not really a Christmas story “Trading Places.” These are what I grew up with and which were the films about Christmas as it takes place in the United States that I became an adult in that typify my era, not that of my grandparents.  I think that is why they are my favorites and not the classics of a bygone time.  Of course there is the “Festivus” episode of “Seinfeld” that is almost scary in how things were in my house with my folks, I think at times we only lacked the “feats of strength” and the Festivus Pole to complete the picture.  Likewise when George makes up a fake charity called “The Human Fund: Money for People” to give to the folks at Kruger Industrial Smoothing it cracks me up because I know that there are people who give gifts in other people’s names to charity.

Finally I like the “X-Files” Christmas episode where Ed Asner and Lilly Tomlin played ghosts in a haunted house that Agents Scully and Mulder get trapped in while investigating a case.

Okay, so these are not the classics of a bygone era, but they are my classics and I will enjoy Charlie Brown, Linus, the Grinch, Clark Griswold, Frank Cross, the Costanzas and the rest of my warped favorites as I rediscover Christmas.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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