It was a couple of days after Thanksgiving; we usually put our Christmas tree up and enjoy the football games on the weekend.

It was a couple of days after Thanksgiving; we usually put our Christmas tree up and enjoy the football games on the weekend.  Our old faithful artificial tree bit the dust after about ten years.  I guess the lugging up and down the stairs and forcing it in and out of the attic hatch finally took its toll.

A new tree with lights already on it was acquired at the local big-box store.  The previous pre-lit tree seemed to work well and I kind of like the ball hanging more than the light stringing.  For the tree to light up, you do have to plug it in.

We plugged it in.

It seemed happy for about an hour, and then the top part went out.  The time that the top part of the tree stayed on went downhill from there.  You could plug it in and it would stay on a couple of minutes, and then go out.

After checking all of the lights, the fuses and everything else, I was bumfuzzled. I read and reread the instructions and the trouble-shooting “tips.” Nothing helped. I called the manufacturer of the tree and was pleased that someone answered the phone. I could also tell that the person who answered was definitely in the United States, so I was hoping for a solution.

I did not get one.

The nice fellow who worked for the company that made my new tree that did not work, explained to me that he would have to send to China to get a new top for my tree.  He also said, “If you are lucky, you’ll get it by Christmas.”

Of course I asked him, “Can’t you just open another box and send me a top?”  Again, he told me that he would have to get the new top from China. We have a lot of “Top’s China” Chinese restaurants around where I live.  I refrained from bringing them into the discussion.

The big-box store was very nice and the manager told me that they had sold out of that particular tree, but they would be happy to exchange it for another.  Like I said, I love the ball hanging, but I wasn’t about to take all of them off and start over.

I just decided to string some working lights on the top and maybe take it back after Christmas.

Then I thought about it some more, maybe I needed this to help me understand the true meaning of Christmas and to help me understand where I wake up every day.

Where do you wake up every day?

Lately, a lot of folks have been struggling to get by.  For some folks it hasn’t just been lately; it is a life of struggles.  There are a lot of things to worry about.  As a country, we have wars going on that have taken loved ones away, often being put in harm’s way.  Gas and groceries seem to getting more expensive daily.

We worry about our future and more importantly, the future of our children and grandchildren. My “tree problem” didn’t seem so bad.

Again, I would ask, “Where do you wake up?”

I’m not talking about which bed or house or city, I’m talking about what attitude we wake up with every day.

When I was a little boy, I loved watching all of the Christmas shows.  There was no recording them, you had to be ready.  My favorites were “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

I’m talking about the cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’ story made in 1966, not the movie made in 2000.  The movie made in 2000 was just not very good in my opinion. 

As most everyone knows, in the story, the “Grinch” comes up with a plan to steal Christmas from all the Whos (people) down in Whoville (city).  The Grinch simply hated Christmas and the joy that it brought to all the people.

There might be a few folks who want to take all your “stuff” and your joy, hoping you will be as miserable as they are.  Honestly, that is horribly sad to think about such a thing.  It’s also sad to think I have to get a new tree top from China. 

Well, as you remember, the Grinch snuck into all the folks’ houses and took their Christmas trees, decorations, presents, firewood and the one crumb of food he did leave – was too small for a mouse.

He took it ALL.  If I remember correctly, maybe he left a couple of wires and a nail in the wall. Then the Grinch reveled in what he had done.  He was happy about it.

On Christmas morning, the Grinch expected all of the Whos in Whoville to wake up to an absence of joy – with no Christmas.

The Grinch didn’t understand Christmas, like many people, he didn’t understand it at all.  Expecting to hear crying and moaning on Christmas morning, the Grinch got a surprise he wasn’t expecting.

He heard singing.

In the movie, the narrator spoke of what the Grinch heard, “This sound wasn't sad. Why... this sound sounded glad. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing... without any presents at all! He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming. It came! Somehow or other... it came just the same.”

Again, I will ask, “Where do you wake up?”

We all need to appreciate the joy of what Christmas is about and sing and shout about it.  It is a glorious gift that has no lights and no bows; it’s not even wrapped.  It is simply Christmas and what it truly means that brings “Joy” with a capital “J.”

In the movie, the Grinch’s heart grows and he comes riding back into town like a hero giving all the presents, decorations and food back that he had stolen.  He’s nice to the children and they even let him carve the Christmas turkey (Roast Beast).

Gas prices can go up, food prices can go up and the names of holidays can even be changed, but where you wake up or rather the state of mind (and heart) you wake up with everyday including Christmas is your decision.

May your Christmas season be filled with the Joy that makes you get up singing in Whoville!

BN Heard served as the Grand Marshal of the 2012 Christmas parade in Vernon last Saturday, the city that recently made him an “honorary citizen.”

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