Scary Christmas or Merry Christmas? Print
Grand Mom
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 -- 3:38 PM

Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer I think I may have become a news junkie. Maybe it is an act of rebellion because I see so many people my age getting out of touch with things. It's almost as if they are saying, "Stop the world; I want to get off!"

I saw it 30 years ago with my mother-in-law, an intelligent, well-read woman, and now I see it in some members of the senior residence where I visit daily. It makes me want all the more to stay tuned in and in touch.

So I read two daily newspapers, two weekly Catholic diocesan papers, a weekly news magazine from cover to cover, and two monthly Catholic magazines. The reading helps bring focus and detail to the dozens of newscasts I see on TV.

The Scrooges of today

The result is that along with being informed, I am also depressed. What a mess the world is in! Hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, grocery prices are out of sight, Wall Street is crumbling, the automotive industry is bankrupt and their executives flying about in private jets to expensive resorts.

They are the Scrooges of today's world, and we are all the Tiny Tims, helplessly crippled. Instead of looking forward to a Merry Christmas, we are looking at a Scary Christmas. And Scrooge's words ring in our ears: Christmas? Bah! Humbug!

When I go grocery shopping, I could cry. A store will brazenly advertise its vegetable soup, for instance, as "Reduced price: 5 for $6.99." Are you kidding me? I can do the math. That's almost $1.40 per can. Are you trying to hide the real cost? I remember just a few months ago when I got it for $0.69.

And then I get in line at checkout, and I see the woman in front of me unloading her heaping cart filled with cereal boxes (at $4 apiece) and gallons of milk (at $4 something) and boxes of diapers for God-Knows-What. And I say a prayer for her and a thanks to God that my 10 kids are grown up and buying their own groceries.

A time of hope

Then I go to church, where I am reminded that the world waited in darkness for a Savior, and He came. And I shop with one of my daughters in a Hallmark store and I am surprised to see her buying a set of Advent candles. Her children are grown. "Do you still light an Advent wreath?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," she replied. "Mark and I light them each night during dinner. It's a reminder that this is a time of hope."

I was im-pressed, and I learned an important lesson from that daughter. The Advent Wreath is so much more than just a way to teach our kids about the anticipation of a Savior. It's also a time to remind ourselves that Christ is born again and that hope, like faith, springs eternal. Next year I am going to replace my missing Advent wreath.

Merry Christmas!

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