Calhoun Times

Here comes Santa Claus!

- COLUMNIST|LYNN Lynn Gendusa’s latest book is “Southern Comfort: Stories of Family, Friendship, Fiery Trials, and Faith.” She can be reached at www.lynngendus­

When I was small, I loved watching Macy’s Thanksgivi­ng Day Parade on television. I squirmed with anticipati­on as the bands and floats passed by, hoping the next float would hold Santa waving to crowds atop his sleigh. When I finally saw his face, I knew Christmas was finally here.

“Lynn, calm down!” Mom would shout from the kitchen. I have never been calm about anything, but certainly never calm about Christmas. That would be sinful anyway.

This year, there is something brewing in the air. I know COVID is raising its ugly head again, but that’s not it. I see whatever it is in people’s eyes, in their speech, and in their smiles. The holidays are welcomed this year with more enthusiasm and gratefulne­ss than I have witnessed in a while. I feel it in my heart, and boy, am I happy about that.

Now, y’all know I love people. But a few out there can sure put a damper on one’s spirit if we let them. All those naysayers, troublemak­ers, and hot-headed opinionate­d, self-righteous folks make us often believe that all humans have moved to the shady side. They may cause us to want to give up, toss in the towel, and go hide in the closet until the Lord comes and takes us away. But that’s not what we are supposed to do, right?

Hopelessne­ss is just a downright killer of the Christmas spirit. When we lose our enthusiasm and zest for living, we miss the opportunit­y to experience life to the fullest. And, by gosh, not COVID nor politics, nor conspiraci­es, are going to dampen my Christmas cheer. Not happening. No way, no how, and they are not going to put a damper on yours either.

So, I need all of you to put on your happy face, top your head with a Santa hat and your car with reindeer antlers and let the world see your Christmas joy. Unless you are one of those “shady” characters, you have no excuse.

Indeed, Christmas is not really about Santa or our wish lists; it is about the enormity of God’s love. He gave us his only son to bring us hope. God hasn’t abandoned us or hid in a closet; he desires us to believe that we can overcome our dark days and smile again as we did as children. We must never give up on ourselves, our country, or our fellow human beings. If we do, we hurt not only ourselves but our Maker.

Yes, those Scrooge-like folks have no business messing with our Christmas. So, disregard them and, instead, see the joyful faces that surround you. Notice goodness and turn away from ugliness. Listen to those who encourage and ignore those who speak of despair. We are not finished; we aren’t going to be defeated without trying to be better. It is what we are supposed to do, right?

My grandmothe­r, aka Grandpa, likened life to a garden. “Shoot, if you want pretty flowers and a good watermelon or green beans, you constantly must pull the weeds growing in the garden. Everything that reaps beauty and food for the soul requires tending for it to grow.”

Well, a big “AMEN” to that! So, let’s pull the weeds of scorn, skepticism, and hopelessne­ss. Let’s toil in our spiritual gardens and let kindness take root. It is the only way to grow a beautiful life.

Yes, there is something in the air. Optimism is contagious, so spread it. Don’t just smile, BEAM! Beaming is better. Don’t calm down; jump up and down with delight so that all people can see the best of who we are. Enjoy living, be grateful that you are here, and pull those pesky weeds that sabotage your happiness.

If we want our holidays to shine, we need to polish our hearts. If we’re going to feel the enormity of God’s grace, we must fall on our knees and hand him our pain. It’s not that hard to do; it just requires tending to our souls.

Now that I am grown, I know and understand that I knew Christmas was actually here when I finally saw God’s face.

“May the Lord bless and keep you; may his face shine upon you and bring your peace.” Have a beautiful, happy, holiday season.

 ?? ?? Gendusa

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