So, it is over. The big day has finally come and gone. All the preparation, all the work, all the decorations and festivities have been exhausted. What are we left with? An overflowing trash heap with empty amazon boxes and the remnants of wrapping paper. We have the memories, of course, memories of the kids unwrapping the presents and the smiles and the fun of sitting around in our PJ’s and just spending some time with the family. We have eaten more than our share of deserts and Christmas goodies.

There’s a phrase that has appeared in Christmas lights upon homes across America, maybe even the world, during the Time of Christmas atleast since I was a child. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” When I was younger, I always thought it was cool to see these words glittering in the many windows we passed by during the Christmas light tour my family would venture out on every year.

Somehow A Charlie Brown Christmas still hits home. After watching it for the 5 millionth time I realized I was Charlie Brown! I used to enjoy the popular Christmas special’s take on the commercialization of Christmas. Amazingly, the same complaints of Charlie Brown’s gang ring true today. “It’s too commercial,” we still cry. In fact, this was one of the complaints of the puritans in the 17th century causing them to ban Christmas celebrations in favor of working on the holiday.

Can you believe that we are just a few short days away from the celebration of Christmas? For children this is a time of incredible anticipation and excitement. I can still remember those final days, when your mind raced with the possibilities of what might be wrapped up under the tree, or what Santa would bring in the stocking hung by the chimney with care. Would it be what you had hoped for, what you left notes and hints about? Only time would tell, and the excitement was part of the joy, part of the magic and wonder accompanying this special time of the year. There is so much about Christmas to celebrate and rejoice in.

The evergreen dresses in her stunning Christmas sparkles. Ginger and cinnamon waft from the warm Christmas oven. The family gathers close to the bright Christmas fire, but a guilt-ridden question hangs over our head. Carols sing sweetly in the white Christmas cold. Little toys hang from the tall Christmas tree. Candles and friends and family light up the dark Christmas evenings. But, somewhere in the middle of Christmas wreaths and gingerbread houses, we struggle with the Santa Claus conundrum. Should our Old Jolly Friend visit our Christian household on that blessed Christmas Eve?

Thanksgiving is over. The leftovers are still plentiful – turkey, stuffing, candied yams, maybe even a few pieces of pecan pie. Yes, that awkward dinner with the in-laws – or as I remember my dad wearing a name tag marked “Outlaw” at a family reunion – and life continues. As usual, there is no shortage of things to do, but those tasks are different around this time.

By Paul Koch

When I was a child, I disliked clothes shopping. You remember the days when mom would hold up outfit after outfit and have you try them on one after another to try to get the perfect size (which was usually just a little too big so that you had room to grow). Getting new clothes back then was necessary, but it wasn’t all that memorable. However, these days, getting new clothes is a lot of fun. While it’s been a while since I’ve bought a new suit, there is an awesome feeling when you wear a new outfit. The clothes can actually make you feel better. Perhaps they make you feel more accomplished or more respectable. You can buy clothes that make you feel more free or spontaneous. Clothes go far beyond being practical and protective. They can make a statement or even help you achieve your goals. There is truth in that old saying that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that clothes are the driving force in your life, but they aren’t impartial to who you are or what you want to be, or at least they can be.