HEY, everybody! It's Christmas Day!
Yahoo! And I'm not talking Internet search engine, either.
So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nigh...
Oops. Sorry. That was last night.
I know that's not the only ending to Clement Clarke Moore's beloved poem, "Twas The Night Before Christmas." But it's the one I knew as a child. The original ending is, "Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night."
And you say that isn't the correct title either? You're right. Even the title of Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," is also known as "The Night Before Christmas."
Now you're probably thoroughly confused as to just what you read at your family gathering last night, right?
And look, don't bug me about mixing up Christianity's insistence on wishing all a "Merry Christmas" in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ with secularism's Santa Claus, reindeer, and various Happy Holidays greetings. Much of what secularism has to offer at Christmastime is enjoyed by Christians, too.
But somewhere during the last several years this sacred holiday has become the focus of contentious arguments.
Some believe a Savior was born around 2,000 years ago to give hope to those who put faith in Him.
Others persist that particular belief is ludicrous and the Book that tells the story is full of silly fables.
The joy, innocence, and gaiety of Christmas in many cases are lost to debates about nativity scenes; eyeball rolling at Merry Christmas cheers; tongue clucking over Christmas music that celebrates the purpose of this day rather than reindeer, Mr. Snowman (hey, women want equal opportunity here, so what about Ms. Snowwoman?), and bells jingling to the point most of us could scream.
Well, for much of the contentious controversy, we can blame the organization that is pretty widely known by its acronym - four letters, mind you.
I mean, whatever happiness Christmas brought in past years lately has nearly been stolen.
This season, however, there's a sense that Christians have grown tired of being singled out and mocked as if we are to blame for all of the world's ills.
Now, because we are fed up with being the focus of the jabbing and because we won't quietly take the denouncing anymore, I'm reminded of the reverse discrimination disputes.
And by the way, in case you're thinking that this has anything to do with the White House's orchestrator of the recent presidential election victory, it does not.
When allowed, Christmas instills hope, peace, goodwill.
It's a stark reminder of God's interest in the human race.
It offers a reason to endure life's trials and encouragement to keep going.
It can turn a Grinch or a Scrooge into jelly, just like Santa's belly when he laughs, bringing out the good in the bad after all.
Everyone on this day is not the recipient, or the giver, of gifts.
Every home is not full laughter and merriment.
Some homes are quiet and sad, and the hearts of the occupants aching and lonely.
God has not forgotten those households. He is as much aware of the people who live in somber homes as He is aware of the ones where there is plenty of lively noise and chatter, and where there is an abundance to the point of excess in the way of family members' happiness and care for one another, gifts, and food.
I can't tell you why some are more blessed than others.
But I do know that whatever one has, however much or little, when Christmas comes every year, it interferes - if you will - and serves as a prompt reminder that God showed up one day as an infant, born in a stable among farm animals, and treated like royalty by learned priests.
But let's now get on to some of the other business of the day.
It's time for me to do some gift giving and a little gift getting myself. Hello, family?
Oh, and did I say eat? Yeah.
So excuse me, family. Let me at some of your Uncle Tommy's delectable dishes.
Who hid Mom's sweet potato pie?
Tell me you guys didn't eat all of Aunt Connie's macaroni and cheese!!
Did Uncle Michael call yet?
What time did you say Daddy's coming over?
And just how many more teenagers and young adults can fit into this house?
What happened to our little babies? They're growing up, gorgeous, handsome, and smart.