Summary: I don’t think any of us are really ready to give up the traditions of this holiday season. So why not think about what we love about this time of the year? (Based on an article by Rev. Thomas Shepherd) ________________________________________

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How do you like this time of the year? Shopping center parking lots clogged with car headlights like a starry night sky in the country. Mindless, but welcoming music drifting over hordes of harried, hopeful, hesitantly happy holiday hunters. Shop ’til you’re top-heavy, arms full of packages, box-crammed plastic bags dangling from every finger.

Sure, it’s an ordeal. Sure, I procrastinate every year. Even worse am I procrastinating this year than ever before. Too much to do—so little time. Sure, I spend in December, then spend January through October paying off the credit cards. (Sure, I talk to myself like a pit bull puppy at obedience school: Bad boy, bad United Methodist minister--shame on you!) But I don’t care. No joke! I don’t care!

While I may have railed against the materialism and commercialism of Christmas in past sermons and maybe it might help your conscience if I were to do so today—instead I want to see the lighter side of this time of the year. After all we keep engaging in its customs every year. I don’t think any of us are really ready to give up the traditions of this holiday season. So why not think about what we love about this time of the year?

City sidewalk, busy sidewalks

Dressed in holiday style.

In the air there’s

A feeling of Christmas.

Children laughing, people passing,

Meeting smile after smile,

And on every street corner you’ll hear:

Silver bells, silver bells,

It’s Christmas time in the city.

Ring-a-ling, hear them ring,

Soon it will be Christmas day.

I love many of the annual playful, over-rated, superficial, commercialized hollow holiday rituals like Jesus must have loved little children and the first sunshine on Easter morning. For three reasons. Three reasons why I love the commercialism of Christmas.

1) Christmas gives us an excuse to move closer to one another. Man shall not life by bread alone; good relationships are of utmost importance and this season reminds us of this.

A few years ago, Winona Ryder was sentenced to community service and a fine for shoplifting. Her problems didn’t start there. Listen to what she says about her early life and the need for healthier relationships:

"When I was 18, I was driving around at two in the morning, completely crying and alone and scared. I drove by this magazine stand that had this Rolling Stone that I was on the cover of, and it said, ’Winona Ryder: The Luckiest Girl in the World.’ And there I was feeling more alone than I ever had."

Christmas crowds us, badgers us, makes us open our sacks and hand tokens of love to people we spend too much time avoiding. Christmas makes us vulnerable, duty-bound to honor the possible...we could possibly be friends...we could possibly work together without in-fighting or envy...we could possibly get along, maybe even like each other.

Oh, of course, our cynical patterns of mistaken thought patterns try to tell us it won’t happen. But for one brief shining moment, we allow ourselves to pretend it is all so...possible.

That’s the first reason why I love the commercialism of Christmas—it gives us an excuse to move closer to one another. The next reason:

2) Christmas changes most people’s internal thermometer to "warm-up" setting.

Some people say they see auras. You know what an aura is?

Well there’s some people who believe that each person has an aura of various colors that surrounds the person, if you are trained to see auras. Now the aura is supposedly composed of soul vibrations and reflects the moods or thoughts of the person it surrounds. Each color of the aura is supposed to have a precise meaning which would indicate a precise emotional state.

Here’s some examples of what the aura colors are supposed to mean:

Red - Dark red may symbolize one who has a quick temper and is nervous or impulsive. All red relates to nervous tendencies.

Orange - warmth, maternal feelings, thoughtfulness, a very emotional person & creativity..

Yellow - mental activity, wisdom, personality power, happiness, good cheer, optimism.

Green - sympathy, empathy, spirituality, love, affinity with nature, a natural healer, and calm.

Blue - quiet, highly spiritual, religious, natural teacher, healer and calm. Any shade of blue in the aura is good to have.

So maybe having a blue Christmas is not such a bad thing.

Well if there’s anything to this aura stuff my aura would be several different colors. Maybe the color would change depending on the day of the week or the time of a day. I don’t know what that means. Maybe my soul vibrations energy have a chameleon setting. Whatever.

Christmas, however, transforms the psychological world of humanity like a wave of many colors, sweeping across the mindscape to warm the human psyche. Sure, it stresses people and drives some into the cold of despair...but the warm, soothing default for the season still plays in the background from every station in the inter-locking network of endless Christmas music:

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