There is a chance of snow tonight. That has become somewhat of a big deal in Little Egypt. I remember as a child in Eldorado, Illinois and walking to school through 6 foot snow drifts… Oh…perhaps they were not always 6 foot drifts but we did have more snow in our neck of the woods than we do now. I recall several days of single digit temperatures and some days that were below 0! We had a coal furnace in more than one of the homes that I lived in during my youth. The Coal Man would deliver our coal and we preferred anthracite coal over bituminous coal…because it burned cleaner and hotter. When we moved to the country it was my job to retrieve the coal each evening when I arrived home from school. Now this was at least an hour later than the conclusion of school due to my riding the school bus…and during this time of year it could be rather dark. The coal room that was adjacent to the garage…was dark. I often took a flashlight to determine the burnable coal from the clinkers…and on the rare occasion the evidence of the cats that made the darkened and private facility their toilet… In this house, that my mom and step-father lived in until his death, we had a coal stove just off to the kitchen. In order to facilitate the heating of our 6 room home…we had to stoke the coal fire to a red hot glow! In those early days of my christian experience I had a practice of reading my Bible every evening at the kitchen table. The pages of my Bible would curl up at the corners due to the extreme heat.

My Christmas joy was heightened this afternoon when I walked the Campus Woods path and discovered that there are more ornaments now than there were before Scrooge absconded with the first batch! It is a Christmas Miracle! Each day of Advent…is Christmas to me! When I walk the woods path and see the Christmas ornaments placed lovingly on the trees…I feel the hope for a better tomorrow! The holiday season always reminds me that there is never enough time… My father-in-law, Berl Hickam, told me on a regular basis, ‘Jay…you will never have enough time to do everything that you want to do.’ Berl was right! During Christmastide I think about where I have been…and where I want to go. My life is a tapestry that I reflect on. I truly believe that each of us is a mixture of darkness and light…the challenge is to journey towards the light…

I was reading a review of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ earlier. The reviewer noted that the famous animation took a complex look at the Christmas Season. There was a melancholy theme to the program with Charlie Brown feeling depressed by the commerciality of the Christmas Season. Sent to purchase an aluminum Christmas Tree…he finds a forlorn small fir tree that the group decorates into a lovely Christmas Tree by adorning it with beautiful ornaments. I think I see the little Charlie Brown Christmas fir tree each time that I walk through Campus Woods and observe the wonderful Christmas ornaments that my fellow campus woods walkers have placed on the, sometimes, small and unnoticed little trees… There is a bit of a ‘Blue Christmas’ for each of us that have lived for sometime. A hidden melancholy colors our emotions and thoughts during this joyous time. We remember happy Christmas memories…and we recall sad events that have happened during this special time of year. Many of our friends and neighbors have lost loved ones to Covid-19…many of us are out of work…many of us are food insecure. When we see Christmas we see the little sad and lowly fir tree with the bent branches and falling needles. Perhaps with God’s help and the love of others….we can visualize the transformed Christmas Tree…with the hopeful ornaments of faith and trust and peace…

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

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