December 25th is the date Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The reasoning behind the choice of this date for celebration is not as important as what it represents to Christians. It’s unlikely that December is the month of Jesus birth based on a number of factors, but the fact of his birth is historically indisputable. The calendar is based on the birth of Jesus, separating history into BC and AD. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is Christmas to Gayle and me.
There was another birth that occurred on Christmas Day, but much less than 2000 years ago. Little Gayle Cross, my wife, was born on December 25th and although she wasn’t born in a manger, it falls on me to remind her occasionally that the celebrations aren’t for her.
I can understand why, when she was a child, all the colorful lights, the joyful music, people celebrating and exchanging gifts would cause little Gayle to think that this was all for her birthday. But to wake up on Christmas morning, peer out her window and not see camels, shepherds and kings bringing her gifts must have been a tremendous disappointment to her as she grew up. I think it may have been some time in her thirties when she stopped looking for that bright star and finally got rid of her “swaddling clothes.”
To say that there has been no residual effect of these delusions of grandeur would be to ignore the fact that she still waits for a wise man to bring her gifts. She’s had to settle for a dumb guy with bad taste. Actually, when I married her, I thought I could get away with one gift that would cover both Christmas and her birthday, but that idea died a quick and merciful death the first year we were married.
I’m lousy at buying gifts for women. Always have been. Early in our marriage I bought Gayle a ring that had a beautiful artistic design. I liked it and she loved it. A few years later I bought her another ring. Unfortunately, this ring was almost identical in design to the previous ring. That may have been the beginning of a change in our emphasis on gifts.
We’re finally at a point in our lives where gifts to each other have evolved into travel, special restaurants, or items for the house. The initial requirement of two gifts at Christmas has evolved or dissolved. We are more practical now.
Dr. Walter Williams, the well-known economist and one of my favorite writers, takes the gift thing a step further than even I have taken it. He buys his wife things that are practical. For example, I once heard him say that he bought his wife a pair of golf shoes so that she wouldn’t slip when she washed his car. In another magnanimous gesture, he bought his wife a small snow shovel so that she wouldn’t strain her back when shoveling the snow in his driveway. I think he bought her a chain saw one Christmas. Now there’s a thoughtful man.
So here we are – a day or so away from Christmas and Gayle’s birthday. When my kids and grandkids were little I dressed up as Santa Claus. Since Gayle and I have been married, I have to appear outside the kitchen window on Christmas morning dressed as a shepherd with a donkey from the ranch and a goat. Talk about embarrassing . . .
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Gayle and I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas.
P.S. - Gayle wanted me to tell you that she doesn't really think she's God.