The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 14, 2011

Remembering the meaning of Christmas

Enid News and Eagle

— Are you keeping the true meaning of Christmas? Or is it all shopping and overspending? Think about it.

Seeing the enormous crowds shopping on Black Friday seemed to diminish the spirit of Christmas for me. Is anything worth that battle of push and shove? I know there are those who have to watch every penny and get as much for their money as they can, but does it all have to be done in one hurried day?

It seems to me the best Christmas presents are those carefully thought out early in the year with preparation throughout the year. I love making Christmas gifts and enjoy getting those that  reflect the joy of the person giving it.

Our youngest granddaughter is watching her pennies this year, so she confided to me she is making lamp cord covers out of a shower curtain, which is less expensive than buying fabric. What a wonderful idea. We can all use lamp cord covers and it is something she has made herself at little cost. It is the thought that counts.

Again this year, I have made some of our gifts to others. They are not costly, nor extravagant, but reflect love. I can hardly wait to give them their presents. We enjoy the fact we can be together instead of just exchanging fancy presents anyway. We do more laughing and singing and remembering old times.

It saddens me we are no longer allowed to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in our schools. Even the stores play Christmas songs entirely centered around Santa and not Christ. So many use the term “happy holidays” instead of mentioning Christmas. I wish we could all return to the old, true meaning of Christmas without the commercial emphasis.

Every month, we receive the Hillsdale Christian School Highlights newsletter. It warms my heart that those fortunate young people are celebrating the the true meaning of Christmas and know the reason for the season.

Ms. Haymaker, the school principal, writes an article every month, along with the teachers of the various grades. Her last article really touched me. I ask permission to share it with you, my loyal readers, and she kindly agreed. This is part of her article:

“This is a wonderful time of year! We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and had a table full of our favorite fixings. Hopefully, we all took time to remember those less fortunate than ourselves and appreciate all that God has blessed us with: children, a safe home in which to live, food on the table and a country where we have the freedom to worship God. God has blessed us generously, and we should always take time to give thanks.

“As the season of Christmas draws near, may we always remember to be grateful for the simple things in life we sometimes take for granted.”

She continues with a wonderful personal story of her family, then tells this story:

“There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see the world, I would marry you.’

“One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed  eyelids shocked her. She had not expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him. Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before  they were yours, they were mine.’”

Ms. Haymaker’s final remarks were that before you say an unkind work, think of someone who cannot speak.

Before you complain about the taste of food, think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife, think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

Before you complain about life, think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children, think about someone who desires children but are barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive, think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

Before you complain about your job, think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.

Before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another, remember that not one of us is without sin, and we all answer to one Maker. And when depressing thoughts seem to  get you down, put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

Amen! I can think of no better Christmas message. It reflects the true meaning of Christmas all year, and what a gift. Thank you, Ms. Haymaker.

Time to make Christmas snacks. I think you will enjoy this one:

Caramel Popcorn

6 quarts popped corn

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

1⁄2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 to 1 cup broken nuts (I use cashews)

Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in saucepan. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Then boil five minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, add vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn and nuts that has been placed in large roasting pan. Bake in 250-degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. (Note: I use large turkey lifting forks to stir the popcorn.)

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.