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Larry Berger, Sinks Grove Correspondent for LBSPY

Christmas is giving time. But sometimes I get a real scrooge-like attitude. When I wrote this I was trapped inside by a dreary rain, introspective. I knew a steering correction was in order.

Christmas has always been a bad day for me. I don’t know why. Probably some repressed agonizing memories of childhood. I have shored them up with scholarly facts of Jesus’ birthday being somewhere around September and the historical reality of Emperor Constantine in the third century wanting to get rid of the bacchanal, and replace it with a Christian holiday. Add to this the unleashed level of consumerism, some pretty awful music (not the hymns and carols, I like the music that tells the story), credit card debt and a plethora of partially deflated airbag depictions of impossible Santas, snowmen and reindeers drooping on neighborhood lawns, and, of course, the increase in traffic. That’s why I like to stay home, sit alone and drink tea, thanking God that I’ve somehow managed to opt out of the Christmas experience.

But the giving part, that’s the good part and in my hideout I always feel like the little drummer boy with no gift to bring. I want to participate in some way, though; I want to be part of the giving. So let me give you a gift of thought wrapped in a picture and tied with a cord of concern.

I am sitting at my dining room table in my royal blue robe and imitation deerskin slippers sipping a steamy cup of imported Chinese green tea, my hair its usual morning disarray, my eyes twinkling with delight at the flow of words from my ballpoint to my writing pad. And this question occurs to me. Whose birthday is it, anyway? And what can you give to someone who claims to be God’s son and around since the beginning? How do you love the source of love?

Well, Jesus said, “as much as you do it to the least of these (indicating innocent children), you do it to me.” Amid all our own personal need, here’s a way to give some love back.

First of all, forget all the political stuff for a while. Then, try giving a gift of genuine love to your children, to your friends and family. Forget something that someone has done to irritate or hurt you. For the umpteenth time, perhaps, forgive them and do or say something nice. Consider how someone you know may be suffering and give them a word gift, a gift of comfort; and lift their burden a little. Give those around you the gift of love: forbearance, kindness, encouragement.

Thanks, I needed that more than you. And after you’ve stuffed yourselves with a holiday dinner, don’t feel bad for me. I’m actually enjoying the solitude and the quiet rain and the opportunity to write all this down.

Merry Christmas, Larry Berger, also known sometimes as Scrooge (but mostly as Dad)

– Larry Berger. Hashtag #84, December 2016.

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Publisher/Editor in Chief at HashtagWV | + posts

HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.