Friday, December 25, 2020

My Last Blog

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways.

The goal of life is not to have our lives mean something to ourselves. The goal of life is to have our lives mean something to others. ~ 
NYDLA talent Simon Sinek

This shall be my last blog of 2020. This time next week shall be the first day of 2021. I rarely skip my Sunday Blog, but it has been known to happen. Like last Sunday - no blog. Yeah, well, I had no muse last week. 

MUSE ALERT!!!! It's Christmas Day 2020. 

There are eight federal holidays in the United States, and Christmas is the only one that is religious in origin. New Year's Day and Thanksgiving are secular. The other five federal holidays honor labor, fallen soldiers, veterans, OUR BIRTHDAY (USA) and MLK. But this birthday party - Christmas - literally "Christ Mass" is the feast day of Jesus of Nazareth. 

Is there (was there?) really a War on Christmas? Is the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate still raging? Anyone with too much time on their hands can Google the "birth" of Santa Claus, a pivot from Saint Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop who's feast day (December 6th) was once an occasion for giving gifts to children. Blame Madison Avenue USA who transformed St. Nick into the old elf, with the beard and the red suit and hat. And the image that we all have today of Santa is from the Coca-Cola ads, right? 

I find it amazing how here in the USA, December 25th became a feast of capitalism. I guess we were not paying attention to the lessons of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, or It's a Wonderful Life. I mean, Mr. Scrooge does send a Christmas Goose to Bob Cratchit, right? And don't get me started on the Grinch who carves the roast beast. 

My uncle Herman turned 89 last night - Christmas Eve. My son Tommy organized a "group call" and that was fun. Did you know that December 24th and December 25th are the two rarest days to have a birthday, other than February 29th? Well, Uncle Herman knows, as he reminds us all of that fact - every year. "No one will ever forget my birthday!" Ah yes, they may not always reach out, but they will always remember.

This Christ Mass Feast of Jesus of Nazareth is looking a little bleak. The current POTUS is setting monsters free, playing golf while the rest of our leadership is voting down even the most modest COVID-19 relief packages. Infection rates of COVID are up, all the ICU beds in Southern California are full. We are not able to gather together as we normally would. But, we light our outdoor lights on December 25th because it is the culmination of the solstice celebration - the darkest and longest day of the year. You know, the pagan festival that honors the Sun God? I really should not Google stuff.

My uncle was born on Christmas Eve. Hard to forget his birthday. My son Tommy got married this month - 12/06/2020. It was a COVID COMPLIANT modified wedding. And it was perfect. And I don't think I will ever forget Tommy and Danielle's wedding anniversary. 

And then, it hit me. Just this morning - Christmas Day morning. THE CHRIST MASS. The Feast of Jesus of Nazareth. Birthday Celebrations. Wedding Celebrations. So, of course I had to Google The Parable of the Wedding Feast. 

In the New Testament times, a wedding was a very sacred and joyous thing. Some wedding celebrations even lasted up to or more than week. Jesus said, "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind - and you shall be blessed because they don't have the resources to pay you." 

Now (in full disclosure) I am not 100% sure that Jesus said those exact words. But I know this to be true: The goal of life is not to have our lives mean something to ourselves. The goal of life is to have our lives mean something to others.

A wedding is like a birthday, right? The first day - the birth of something new, the beginning of something remarkable. The Parable of the Wedding Feast, On Jesus Birthday. Do we KNOW that Jesus was born on December 25th? Most people say that was most likely NOT the date. 

Ya know something? (as my son Tommy would exclaim loudly when he was young...) Jesus COULD have been born on 12/06/2020 - Santa Claus Birthday - and Tommy's Wedding Day! Or any day. We are not even totally sure Jesus was born in the winter

Or as my good friend Chuck Dickens would say:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol 

Our Capone Family Christmas Miracle

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