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Setting the record straight on Christmas joy at my home

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

Christmas is still a month away and I’ve already received my first thinly-veiled insult from my family members who wrongly believe that I do not enjoy that holiday because it is relatively expensive. 

In fact, all I did was ask why we are buying new outdoor Christmas lights again this year. True to form, two of my adult children accused me of being a “Scrooge.” 

Rather than be offended, that reference always reminds me of the memorable phrase, “God bless us, everyone”, first uttered as a Christmas dinner blessing by Tiny Tim and then repeated by a repentant Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. 

To me, those words embody the true meaning of the joyous holiday we will celebrate next month. And it should inspire all of us to keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year long. 

Dickens used the possibility of young Tiny Tim’s death as a psychological weapon against the miserly Scrooge who didn’t pay Bob Cratchit enough to get medical treatment for his crippled son. 

Guilt can be a powerful motivator for doing the right thing and that’s apparently what drove ole Ebenezer to change his ways and become like a second father to Tiny Tim and the Cratchits. 

This Christmas will bring us another helping of wonderful examples of how we Americans are the most generous folks on earth, giving copiously of our time and treasure to help others. 

My favorite is the Christmas giving technique used by the so-called “check-out angels”. They stand near check-out lanes and pay for layaway gifts and other holiday purchases by many low income families. 

That approach will be even more important this year in the midst of the economic disaster caused by the pandemic. 

I still remember when my wife and I made sure our kids had a “good” Christmas in terms of gifts and then we spent the following year paying off the credit cards. 

Here’s a simple but profound observation to help us have the right attitude about giving during this wondrous season.

“Christmas begins with Christ.”

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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