The Pebble

If you watch TV at all (and I watch it all too much) you cannot help but see the jewelry store ad with the penguins. Oh, it's so sweet when the cute boy penguin waddles over to a girl he's been working up the courage to talk to and drops a pebble at her feet. We anticipate a cozy cuddle and the two of them waddling off to happily ever after.

Alas, she waddles away. Poor guy. We were rooting for you.

In this world of penguin wooing, there is a clever fellow who dazzles his sweetie with gold and diamonds and she snuggles up with him. That's how you find true love, kiddos!

Wow and Merry Christmas to you too, you jaded cold hearted, well, you can fill in the adjective.

I know the jewelry store is trying to make a buck or two. I know that the 'Holiday Season' is their make or break time of year. I know that shiny jewelry at Christmas has become part of our mythos. Heck, I got a lovely shiny ring at Christmas many years ago from my honey and we've been happily ever after for several decades.

We in our house agree that the schlub with the pebble is cuter and more lovable than the slick haired piece of poultry who dazzles his honey with a rock that refracts sunlight and blinds the silly hen to his shallow heart.

Yes, I know I am super-imposing my own take on the birds in this thirty second romance. I do that sort of thing.

The humble full-hearted gift of love (see, I am granting the pebble penguin sincerity and not stinginess) resonates true considering the original Christmas presents were given to a boy tucked in to a bale of hay and kept warm by donkeys and sheep. 

Would the parum-pa-pa-pumming of The Little Drummer Boy be covered by crooners and rock stars all these years if it didn't resonate as true?

O Holy Night?



And I despise even more that Black Friday has given way to Black Thursday which is supposed to be Thanksgiving.

So, here we are. National craziness somehow seen as patriotism because our entire economy rests on the hopes and dreams of retailers making money on a whole bunch of junk that diminishes Christmas to a ritual of hedonism, gluttony and greed.

Okay, that's how I feel.


I love the sentiment, the fuzzy soft colors, I love Santa, I love nativity scenes. I love the angels and the magi and the donkeys. I love the gaze of wonder in all the sentimental pictures of Mary and Joseph and shepherds and kings and cattle around the beautiful child with a golden glow emanating and surrounding him. I love the carols. I love remembering the hope and anticipation that is the right of all children and whatever is left of innocence in each of us.

I love the mad craziness of hope and miracle and redemption in the midst of the ordinary and in the midst of the ugly through the birth of a child. Yes, the birth of a child.

I love the giving of gifts that draws us out of ourselves to think of what might please another and the wrapping and anticipation of their joy in receiving it.

That's how I feel.

Here is what I know. I know that parents who deprive their children of an education in the meaning of Christmas, in the meaning of the Light that darkness cannot overcome are negligent. And parents who camp out missing Thanksgiving dinner with their children to get their hands on the must have gizmo are disgraceful.

The pagans had it right-- the natural theology that is our divine gift prompted winter darkened northern Europe to celebrate with fires and evergreens and songs and stories that promised hope that light would come and renew the earth, renew the people. The missionaries who adopted this ancient celebration to the birth of Jesus were brilliant, and by the way, great marketers.

But, I really don't think they anticipated people camping out in the middle of the night vying for first place to get a fake sale price on a nintendo or flat screen TV. Or the trampling underfoot of the less nimble in a mad rush of greed. And every year on the Black Friday evening news we see footage of someone killed or mauled or beaten after waiting in line for hours for this insanity.

That said, I still have to shop for Christmas. But not today.