Christmas

Christmas

The golden ball sang.

You have to be kidding, I thought.

I rolled the musical orb over in my right hand the way I would a baseball, searching out its secrets.

The year was 1976 or '77, and I was employed by Osco Drug, at Fairhills Mall, in Springfield, Illinois.

I did not realize that I was about to enter the adult world of disdain for crass commercializations of Christmas.

"Just hang it up.  It'll play until you turn it off," my coworker said as she placed the plastic ornament in a green fir tree, also made of plastic.

Chirpy, electronic, and annoying, I thought.  Fake as fake could be, I decided.  I despised the latest technological leap in Christmas tree ornamentation, the inventor, and felt uncertain about people who purchased them.

They sold fast, as fast as we could stock them.  I was glad when they were gone.  Still, sample ornaments hung, beeping and bleeping away in the unliving limbs of artificial trees.

How many times can you listen to a loop of a handful of electronic Christmas carols during a five-hour shift without losing your mind?  Not many.  I began turning them off when I passed by.  One of our managers announced that the ornaments would sing, or we who silenced them would suffer consequences.  We who despised them became more careful; brief silences without consequences followed.

How do you get from Jesus to this?  I asked myself this question with growing frequency, as I beheld with new awareness how people prepared for Christmas Day.

Pastor MeCaskey

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