Spreading the spirit

Prince Frederick, MD - One Holiday quote that, regrettably, has lingered in my mind for decades was delivered by—of all people—a delivery man. It was Christmas rush at my hometown florist, where I was working during my Christmas/semester break. After spending a full day in a van driving all around the DC Metro area delivering festive flower arrangements, Poinsettias and fruit baskets, the coworker declared, “Christmas is getting to be a drag.” The truth is, Christmas in modern day America brings with it a daunting to-do list that has those who must complete the tasks wondering why they didn’t get started in July. There is nothing convenient about any of the traditional aspects of contemporary Christmas time. Shopping, decorating, assembling certain gifts, baking cookies, planning and hosting parties, mailing packages, writing and mailing cards etc. are menial tasks society has dumped in our laps. Never mind that we were already busy or that come January the big—huge—bills will come due.

In a 2008 essay for Business Pundit, writer Jeff Springer stated, “far from a time of togetherness, humility, and modesty, Christmas is now seen as an economic stimulus for lagging economies, with many stores beginning the season and starting to sell ‘Christmas items’ as early as October.”

The challenge to assimilate during the season to be jolly often makes us wonder if the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. When you step back and analyze, however, the case can be made that it has not been lost but rather rediscovered in a more contemporary form. 

Jesus Christ was born during the darkest days of humanity. We observe his birth during a time of darkness. If you know the story of the Nativity, you know there was nothing easy or convenient about the birth of Jesus. There is nothing easy about eradicating that perpetual darkness, just like completing your list of Yuletide tasks while handling the routine, year- ‘round obligations isn’t easy. Yet, every time a local fire department gives Santa a ride through a neighborhood filled with excited children, a local school chorus or church choir sings Christmas carols, a community theatre group presents a Christmas play, an area business or agency greets visitors with a cup of cider and a Christmas cookie or you receive a pleasant greeting from someone wearing fake antlers and an ugly sweater, a little bit more darkness is thwarted. None of those things happen without sacrificing something.

Individually and collectively, we can still make Christmas a time of togetherness, humility and modesty plus, we can stimulate more than just a lagging economy. We can deliver hope for a brighter new year.

The entire staff of wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas!

Contact Marty Madden at

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