Our Changing Christmas Perspectives
By GLENN MOLLETTE
I was saddened when I saw the report of a group of little children hiding in a basement in Aleppo, Syria. Sadly this is where most of Aleppo’s remaining children are located. They are holding on to life, hopefully another day.
Many of us grew up loving the Santa Claus story and honestly I’m still holding on just a little bit. I don’t have a big list for him. However, most of what I’m hoping for is really out of Santa’s league.
Santa Claus is good for fun and games. I asked Santa for some games when I was a kid and received a Password game and a game called Mystic Skull. Those were fun games. I also asked Santa for a plastic bowling ball set. I got up on Christmas morning very early and it wasn’t under the tree. My mother went to the hall closet and pulled out this big box and said, “Santa told me to put it in here until you got up from bed.” I accepted that story as only a six- or seven-year-old would do.”
Christmas lists change with age. What I hoped for at five became very different throughout the years. I had wish lists pertaining to career, children and other aspirations. Today I’m so very happy to simply enjoy health, trips to the grocery store and a warm house. Amazingly what makes me happy today is far more complicated than when I was preparing my toy lists for Santa.
I once asked for a $29 white electric guitar for Christmas. My hard working coalmining daddy and mom were able to buy that for me. I was so happy. It seemed like I had just gotten everything in the world for Christmas. A few days later one of my relatives was visiting in our home and he was admiring my white electric guitar. He didn’t make a lot of money but admired my gift and later commented that it was hard to buy many Christmas gifts on $20 a week. I felt a little bad about my beautiful guitar and sad for him. This was back in the day when decent money was $125 a week. Looking back I can now see more clearly that his perspective was that of a struggling adult.
I enjoyed that feel of being a little child. I didn’t worry about healthcare. I didn’t worry about having food to eat or paying all the bills. I didn’t worry about sickness or life’s longevity. I was free to enjoy the child’s perspective of Christmas. Today as adults we are hammered with the harsh realities of life. We deal with the daily grind of life that includes all the pains of having enough money and enough health to enjoy Christmas. We have other family members who we agonize with and relate to in their struggles.
We also have national concerns. We are blessed in America where so much of what we enjoy is almost a miracle every day. With all that we see and hear about in Syria and so many other troubled places in the world surely to just sleep and live in peace has to mean everything to all of us. I think this is something we grow into in America. The news report about little children hiding in a basement in Aleppo fearing for their lives was heartbreaking. They hold onto hope of their lives being spared and maybe a better day. However, a night of peace and rest is almost inconceivable to them.
Whatever you have this Christmas in America cherish and respect it. Thank God for everything you have. The perspective of everything we have changes throughout life from a five-year-old child to someone barely holding on to life in a nursing home or a family huddled together in a basement in Aleppo.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of 11 books. He is read in all 50 states. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.