Advent Meditation from F. Memory Mitchell (1969)
Each year at Christmas the gifts seem to be more and more bountiful; Santa Claus leaves bigger and more toys than ever before; everyone spends money and time in quantities never dreamed of only a few years ago.
When I survey this abundance each Christmas, I cannot help but think back to Christmas of 1933, the year the banks closed early in December. My heart was set on a doll carriage and my brother wanted a scooter, but Santa was affected by the Depression just as everyone else. He left a new coloring book and new crayons, a little candy, and fruit for each of us; I don’t remember anything more. And then I think of Christmases I heard my father tell about, in the 1880’s, when his chief joy was having an orange at Christmas because oranges were seldom available to farm boys in rural North Carolina. He hoarded his Christmas orange, dividing it into sections and eating one section a day so as to make his delicacy last as long a time as possible.
Was I happier at Christmas than my father? Are my children really happier than I was in that Depression year? I wonder. Perhaps we all should take stock and consider whether we are putting our material goods first at this season when, of all times, things of the spirit should be uppermost in our hearts and minds.
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