Christmastime – a little bit of this and of that

Years ago, most children would ask Santa to leave a sled or a board game under the tree. Today, kids expect cell phones, electronic games and a whole array of other nifty gadgets. My how times have changed.

Speaking of Santa, I saw him riding shotgun today in a four-door sedan heading east on River Drive. I think it was Mrs. Claus driving. They sure were in a hurry. Express delivery, I suppose.

I don�t think parents should use Jolly Old Saint Nicholas as a threat, telling kids, �If you don�t behave, Santa won�t bring you any gifts.� Count to 10, give them time out, but don�t use Santa as a weapon.

Santa�s helpers who don�t look like the real Santa Claus really creep me out, especially the ones with drooping beards, who smell like cigarette smoke or booze. On the other hand, maybe I should cut Santa some slack.

When it�s cold and dark outside, I long for warmer times and daylight past 6 p.m. To perk up my dull-drums, I had my hair styled at the salon and wondered how long it would take for my husband to notice. I am happy to report he commented on my new do in less than 30 minutes!

The other day, I bought a bag full of Christmas jewelry for 25 cents at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Thrift Store, where I volunteer. Speaking of volunteers, the DAV may have to close its doors because of the lack thereof.

People inspire me this time of year, like the person who still catalog shops at home, the woman who makes all of her own holiday cards and the entire family who handcrafts all of their Christmas gifts.

What makes me smile every time are truckers whose rigs are all lit up like Christmas trees. Streaming through the night, they are holiday rockets on wheels. I saw one the other day that even had a lighted Santa on the grill.

Have you noticed how much glitter is used during the holidays? Back in 1934, someone should have reined in Henry Ruschmann, the inventor of glitter. While I appreciate sparkly things, glitter is not one of them.

I read up on glitter and learned why it bugs me so – you can never get rid of the stuff. Glitter is heavier than water, stays stuck on everything and that includes your skin. And if you are successful in washing it off, it sinks to the bottom of waterways, which contributes to twinkling toxic sludges. That reminds me…why do they add glitter to makeup?

Last month, when I passed an elderly woman with a worried look on her face in the juice aisle at the grocery store, I felt God nudging me to give her five dollars. But, I ignored it and went on my merry way.

The next day, I randomlyopened �The Message� Bible Translation to Proverbs 3:27-29, which reads, �Never walk away from someone who deserves help, your hand is God�s hand for that person. Don�t say �Maybe some other time� or �Try me tomorrow� when the money is right there in your pocket.�

After reading this, I was humbly reminded that with God there are no coincidences. The word �random� does not exist in God-speak. God is intentional from the get-go, and I have asked God for a second-chance to be obedient.

Talk about obedience, in the days leading up to the first Christmas, I ponder Joseph and Mary�s plight. I think about the holy disruption of their everyday lives and wonder how they did it with such obedience and grace.

On Saturday, when delivering food to a needy family, I was ever so grateful for the young girls who answered the door and so willingly helped me lift the heavy boxes up the stairs to their house. Now, I am wondering what else I can do for them.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula�s columns took five first-place awards statewide. To contact Paula, email pauladamon@iw.net, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.

2010� Paula Damon

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