The real Christmas

To the Editor:

The Grinch found out that Christmas doesn't come from a store...that it means a little bit more. The people in Whoville still came out of their homes singing happily even when that awful Grinch took all their gifts and decorations away. The Grinch couldn't believe that the Whos didn't need a lot of presents for Christmas to come.

How many people today are unaware of the reason we celebrate Christmas? I read the Holiday Edition of the Caledonian-Record, the day before Thanksgiving Day. I wouldn't attempt to try to count the number of times the word, "gift," is used in the pages. But the number of times Christmas is mentioned for its real reason may be zero.

Every year I am upset by the Christmas commercials -- children telling what they must have if their parents care anything for them, that perhaps their parents have no clue about what they really want, the car commercials, the jewelers spouting that the only way you can prove you love your wife is by getting her expensive jewelry, you really need a new television, preferably one for every member of the family, kindles, computers, cell phones - never mind the price, never mind if you can't afford it, it's the only way to go.

I grew up going to church every Sunday, something I still do. My religion is an important part of my life. I have never said that I am too busy to go to church, too tired to go to church. It has always been a way of life for me. Even when I had to get my eight children ready for church, I did so, and we got there on time. When I was a young mother, it was a day of renewal - the wonderful comforting Book of Common Prayer always gave me strength for the coming busy, hectic week.

I have never church-hopped -- I belong to Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church, the same church that my great grandparents attended when they came to St. Johnsbury in the 19th century, and hence, my children were the fifth generation of my family to attend. I was the secretary of a Congregational Church for 24 years and I dearly loved its pastor, but I felt no desire to change my church.

I like Christmas gifts just as much as anyone else and I get excited at the age of 82 about what my family will be giving me, what I have in my Christmas stocking, if the family will be pleased with what I have carefully chosen to give to them. I love my decorations and I have them to tackiness. We still arrange our 56 year old inexpensive creche and light the Advent candles that are on a form my neighbor made for me over 50 years ago. We celebrate Christmas Eve at our home with my nephews and nieces and their children attending, something they have always done. We eat my traditional pork pies and gorge on other food too. We have a lot of presents to exchange. It takes a long time to watch 16 or more people opening each present individually. We really help the economy, without a doubt.

But it is foremost in my mind that I am celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and I am appalled that so many people do not even connect Christ with Christmas.

Betty P. Maynard

St. Johnsbury, Vt.

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