Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
My gift to Christmas,
gift to mankind
I love Christmas.
One thousand years ago I would probably have loved "drinking Yule" with
Scandinavian ancestors home from another season aviking.
Maybe there is a yearning in the human soul to celebrate at the winter
solstice as the days become shorter, the nights colder, and the death grip
of winter squeezes the land.
For the past two thousands years or so we Christians have had even more
cause to celebrate as we mark the birth of Christ.
Anyway, I like Christmas.
It is a great excuse to be with people you love and care for. I enjoy
giving and receiving presents. I really enjoy the food. Rich, sweet, steaming
dishes served with sides of sugary stuff and gravy.
Did I mention I like Christmas?
Well, I have a special Christmas present for all of mankind this year.
Christmas is a celebration. A celebration marking the hope of eternal
life, of family, of another year successfully passed, of the goodness of
the human spirit _ a celebration of the victory of good over evil during
the darkest time of the year.
Celebrations are times for a bit of indulgence. Otherwise, it's not a
celebration, it's just a day with a name. We cook special foods and drink
special drinks. We indulge our personal vices a bit, and perhaps help those
we care for indulge in theirs.
Over the past ten years or so, I have noticed something.
I have watched people's enjoyment of this season change for the worse.
The indulgence is still there, but with a new seasoning.
Not just the ordinary I-can't-believe-I-ate-the-whole-pie guilt, but the
calorie-counting, cholesterol-measuring, alcohol-shunning, nicotine-is-evil,
nitpicking kind of guilt that the Puritans would be proud of.
We still do it, or we indulge some other human weakness instead of society's
evil of the day, but we do not enjoy it like we should.
Instead, we do it somewhat half-heartedly, and then contemplate how doing
it pushed us an inch closer to death's door.
So, my Christmas present to mankind is a proclamation of guilt-free celebration.
I hereby banish all morbid thoughts concerning the ingredients of the celebration.
I plan to eat good fatty, sugary, salty food without mentally whipping
myself for it. I will drink some good wine, and perhaps a few glasses of
my favorite fermented beverage. I may even smoke a good cigar and I will
certainly cut a plug from my tobacco. I will share these bounties of God's
good world as I can with my neighbors.
And the guilt that our silly society tries to conjure can go to the devil.
Death comes one way or another. I hope to greet it one day with the knowledge
that I enjoyed life. Not that I foolishly threw it away, but at the same
time, not that I so clung to the hope of not dying that I forgot to live.
So I will try to celebrate the birth of Christ in a manner befitting the
birth of the King of Kings _ with a robust and grateful joy that does not
leave room for niggling guilt.
Merry Christmas everyone.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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