Reason for the Season

Folks, the fundamental issue facing our time, or any time really, is this: an adherence to rigidity. “Should things remain exactly as I expect?” The answer should NEVER be “yes”. No offense, but your expectations are too low — compared to what could be, you’ll always be lack-minded. The world will always be greater than what you can imagine.

Once upon a time there was a guy shaking things up, telling people there was a better way. But thanks to an adherence to rigidity, this man was straight-up murdered for trying to improve the world. His name, if you didn’t know, was Jesus — it may sound familiar because we tend to celebrate his birthday around this time of year.

The people of his day couldn’t wrap their heads around progress. “You mean things can get better? Nah, things suck and they’ll always suck! You’re just a charlatan! Crucify him!” They could’ve ignored him, but no, they had to send a message, they had to cement their conservative stance and convict him in the court of public opinion.

And that adherence to rigidity remains with us today of course. “Keep things as they are! Why change!? One misstep and we’ll lose it all!” But such an attitude only demonstrates a distrust of life, a skepticism toward our creator. It is the very opposite of a godly attitude. God is infinitely giving — as demonstrated by all we’ve received.

Come this holy season, the true gift we give others isn’t in the form of trinkets, the regifting of what God has already provided — it’s in the love and acceptance we demonstrate towards them. It’s in the cheerfulness we maintain as we mingle with our fellow guests. This world is God’s gift to us all. What greater thanks can we offer back, but in helping others have a great time as we all share in this generous gift.

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Ho No

“So Matt, what would you like for Christmas this year?”
“Nothing.”
“Matt, you’re a ten-year-old boy, you have to want something!”
“It’s a Christian holiday and I’m an atheist.”
“What?! Well then what are you going to open on Christmas morning?”
“I’ll be live-streaming all day.”

That’s an excerpt from an actual conversation my mother had with one of her grandsons. When I was but a boy, I didn’t relate to the Christian aspects of X-Mas either — but Santa and presents sure made a whole lotta sense.

Frankly, I blame the lack of television for this kind of staunch anti-X-Mas stance. When I was young, we were forced to choose from a total of THREE television channels every night. Come holiday time, at least one of those channels was showing a Christmas-themed special in which it wasn’t too late to find out the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas Miracles were around every corner. Nowadays kids don’t even watch TV. Instead of the picture-tube, they’re glued to the YouTube.

And have you even tried shopping for kids today? When I was young, there were large toy-stores in every mall — EVERY aisle was filled with goodies. They’re gone. You have a few aisles in Target or Walmart now. What can a child reasonably put on his Christmas List this year? What? A bike? Scooter? Legos? Classic board games? Action-figures? Remote-control-vehicle? Xbox? TV? iPad/iPhone? Toy robot? Gift-cards? Movie-streaming/gaming-subscription service? Hmm never-mind.

But it’s like they don’t even care. They’re not inundated with commercial after commercial for hours everyday after school like I was when I was a kid. Frankly, most of the shows I watched were 22-minute long ads anyway (Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man). I knew all the latest toys and NEEDED every single one of them because all those ads convinced me. The same with cereal. I wanted every sugar-laden box they sold in the cereal-aisle and I made sure my mom knew it! But kids today? Psh, not even a peep, they don’t even want to go down and check out all the cool characters on the boxes — I always went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

I don’t know what to say, I guess it’s a rudderless generation — simply lost without the guiding hand of television. Every day and night I knelt before its glow and received without question the words it spoke. And I turned out fine. Well, I mean there was the anxiety, depression, sugar-addiction… whatever! It wasn’t TV’s fault, heck they had those World Wars before TV ever became popular. In conclusion, it’s never too late to learn the true meaning of Christmas: rampant unapologetic commercialism ushered in by a jolly old elf. Kids today need to get their act together and get their butts in front of the TV.

Crimson Wishes

“In darkest realms where shadows lie, where goodness fails and angels die — let my voice be heard and heed my word…”
“Wait, are you sure about this?” he cautioned.
“Ahem!” she continued, “Through wicked ways I summon thy power, from sacrificial blood in the midnight hour.”
“Whoa!” he protested.
“Calm down, it’s just a tissue from my last bloody-nose,” she assured him.

She placed the crumpled tissue in the center of an encircled star made out of small rocks. She swiped a match across the box and lit the tissue. She told the boy to throw the image of his desire onto the small fire. He took the picture and held it over the flame until it caught. “It is done,” she declared. The boy breathed a sigh of relief.

Rob didn’t like the idea of resorting to black-magic but he was desperate, so he asked his goth friend Emily to help. Rob really wanted an Xbox One X, and he’d do anything to have it. He lived with his mom and little sister and they didn’t usually have money for Christmas presents, and this year was no different.

Rob woke up the next day feeling the same as any other day. In fact he almost forgot about the previous night’s escapade except he saw the flyer from which he cut out the picture on the floor. At breakfast, Rob ate the usual bowl of off-brand cereal he always ate. It was the weekend, so no school today — Rob wasn’t a fan anyway.

Of course Rob had tried asking Santa for presents in the past, but unfortunately, his mall’s Santa wasn’t affiliated with the actual Santa — thus none of his wishes were ever forwarded, so he never received what he asked for. It’s not well-known, but Santa Claus has a goth cousin named Satan Claws. It’s who little goth boys and girls write incantations to during the holidays.

Satan Claws’s minions received Emily’s incantation and got to work on it the next day. They procured an Xbox One X and wrapped it in red paper. But in this case, the red paper represented the blood of the innocent. As he was instructed by Emily, Rob placed a dead tree in the center of his room and adorned it beautifully with lights and ornaments (in mockery of its once living state).

The Winter Solstice finally arrived and Satan Claws sent his minions out to deliver the “Bounty of Blood” as it was called. Those that summon the power of darkness receive the fruit of their invocation upon the darkest day of the year. Rob woke up the following morning to find a present under the tree. He was so excited and rushed over to open it!

On the gift-tag it read “To: Rob, From: Satan Claws”. Rob tore the red paper away and underneath he saw what he truly desired, an Xbox One X! He couldn’t have been happier. That’s when he noticed another present under the tree. It had a similar gift-tag and wrappings. He opened it and found a black Misfits t-shirt, over-sized black pants, and some glow-lights inside.

That night, in celebration of the bounty received, Rob dressed in his new outfit, met Emily and her friends underneath an overpass, and danced to techno music in intervals of six-hundred and sixty-six seconds. Rob was welcomed into the fold and he even invited some people back to his house to take a look at Red Dead Redemption 2 on his Xbox.

Ready for Action

Michael woke up suddenly. He didn’t know why. But not long after, he heard a noise. It seemed to be coming from inside his house. Michael had a Benelli tactical pump-action shotgun for home-defense, a concealed-carry permit to accompany his Glock 26 subcompact pistol, plus a small arsenal of various rifles and handguns for impressing his buddies at the gun range. He’d been waiting for this day, a good-guy with a gun was about to go to war.

Michael grabbed the Benelli obviously, and readied it for action, racking the slide underneath his pillow to keep it quiet. He paused a second and grabbed his Glock subcompact for backup. Because of the emergency nature of the situation, Michael dispensed with any other gear. It was go-time. To keep the element of surprise, he kept things dark and moved low and slow through his house towards the living room. “This f*cker’s dead,” he kept repeating to himself.

As he got closer, he was relieved to see light coming from the living room, that meant he’d have the advantage as he was coming from a dark hallway. He inched his way closer. Before he could even think about what he saw, it was over. Michael dropped to his knees as the shotgun fell out of his limp hands. Red was everywhere. None more so than on the man in the living room. But that man wasn’t done quite yet — from his bag he pulled out one more thing.

“An XBox One X!!!”, yelled Michael as he saw it coming out of Santa’s sack. “Ho ho ho!! Indeed it is!”, replied Saint Nick. “How did you know!!!”, Michael was ecstatic. He offered Santa some cookies and apologized for trying to blow his brains out. But that jolly old elf, with but a wink and a nod, simply shot up the chimney and got back in his sleigh. Michael could hear the reindeer as they ran off his roof and he heard Santa saying, “A merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

A Reasonable Response

Elder One: Who is this man that speaks as if he has divine authority?
Elder Two: He is a popular teacher it seems. But what he teaches corrupts the people, it diminishes the law and our authority over them.
Elder Three: A trouble-maker it seems. Let us send him to the civil authority to be executed. He is guilty of heresy by our laws and of treason by theirs.
Elder Four: Do you think it wise brothers, to condemn a man to death for merely interpreting our creator in a manner that’s proving popular with the people?
Elder Two: It is a corrupted teaching that violates the letter of the law!
Elder Four: But he’s committed no measurable offense.
Elder Two: A slippery slope! He must be dealt with lest we all fall!
Elder Four: Surely this is an overreaction. If he continues and the people follow, their fervor will dissipate over time. Whereas if we rob them of him, they will cling to his message even more.
Elder Three: A quick cut and the infested branch will be gone! There will be no spread of his message once the source is severed.
Elder Four: We are talking about killing a man just because he draws a few crowds? And if the creator placed this man on earth, as he placed us all, who are we to intervene?
Elder One: Enough of this! Let us concern ourselves with more important matters. It’s almost lunch!
Elder Two: Now you’re talking!
Elder Three: Oh thank goodness, I’m starved!
Elder Four: Finally, a reasonable response!

The story of a dystopian world where Christmas never happened.

Brownie the Christmas Elf

Poor Richard, always turning every color into gray.

But Richard, surely this cake will make you gay?
Nay, I must think of tooth decay!
But Richard, the sun shines bright today!
Ah, it shall burn my skin, until it flay!
But Richard, exciting news I have to say!
Oh no, what could it be, surely I will pay!

And so she came one night, when the moon shone bright,
just a little sprite, an elf known as Brownie.

Hello to you good sir! I’m but a tiny fairy, not so scary,
I’ve a core of cheer and my shell is sweet — it is nice to meet!
Richard bit the hook, that’s all it took.

Caught, but not willing to surrender.
He fought and fought, until his heart grew tender.
Brownie loved the challenge, sparkling in all her splendor.

She knew he’d falter, she never worried.
The decades past, she never hurried.
And upon his birthday she gave a gift,
A little boy whose spirits could lift.

Brownie, said Richard, I think you’ve won.
I surrender to you, I’m ready for fun.

O Christmas Tree

Starting with a piece of 2 1/2 inch wide by 3/4 inch thick wood, I sawed out a basic triangle and a trunk. Then the whittlin’ began, just hackin’ away until a pine tree appeared. A rasp and file helped too. The saw was also used to trim out some outer branches. And once the woodworking was done, paint was applied. A couple different greens for shading and a couple browns too. Finally, a bit of white paint was added for a touch of snow.

A small amount of work for a decorative little item, standing at 3 1/2 inches tall. And as a bonus, the organic nature of the subject-matter makes mistakes of little concern.