From past writings by Emil Schmit
By Emil Schmit
Every year another Christmas. And no matter how we tell the story, it always comes out about the same. I suppose that, in itself, is something to be thankful for. Year after year we have this great season to look forward to. And this great tradition to follow. For most of us, the Season To Be Jolly seems to add an extra measure of stability to our lives.
Forty years ago some of us old pessimists were grumbling about aluminum Christmas trees. Next we found fault with trees that had green plastic needles. And now we’re not so sure about the newfangled artificial trees that furnish their own illumination, flaunting green needles, the tips of which actually light up. But I suppose the new technology might be better than having to untangle a half-dozen strings of miniature tree lights (each with hundreds of tiny bulbs) every year. But none of those artificial trees have a real cedar, fir, pine, or spruce smell. And we truly do miss that.
And we like to complain about how the Holy Season has been commercialized. How everyone is kept so busy now that no one really has time to enjoy Christmas anymore. But then, I guess people have always been busy. For people of my parents’ generation, it must not have been all fun and games to harness up a team of horses, hook them up to a bobsled, and drive six or eight miles to attend Midnight Mass. Then, after church, drive all the way home, hoping to grab several hours of sleep before the morning farm and home chores had to be done.
I hardly ever bother to stop and think how remarkable it is that we even have such a great event as “Christmas.” Nowadays people joke and say that everyone, if he or she is lucky, may have up to fifteen minutes of fame. And then it’s over. But for 2000 years now, we have been celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ. And He was a baby born in a stable, with a manger for a crib, because there was no room at the inn.
He was not a member of a ruling family, but the foster son of a common carpenter. There is no record of Him ever attending any great or prestigious schools or colleges. He did not live much past the age of thirty. He never held political office, nor did He ever campaign for such. And, overall, He was not exceedingly popular. On one occasion, a crowd that had gathered could have put in a good word for Him, but instead, they insisted that He be condemned to death. There is no record of Jesus being a great warrior, or that He ever wielded sword, spear, bow, or mace. He led no great armies into battle. And he never conquered or ruled a single nation. He did, however, on one occasion, wear a crown. The crown of thorns that was placed on his head to punish and humiliate Him before He was crucified.
Yet He is remembered. We could not forget Him if we tried. He has left his mark here. In much of the world, time has been punctuated by His life. In history, we look back on the earliest recorded period of time as B.C. (Before Christ). And our more recent centuries are designated as A.D. (anno domini) (in the year of our Lord).
Most of all, He left us His teachings – a blueprint for life. And this wonderful Christmas season – celebrated and enjoyed by the multitudes – in many cases regardless of belief or religion. A time that tends to draw people together and unite them in love, peace, and good will.
From house to house, the carolers
Now briskly move along,
At each home their voices rising
In welcome Christmas song
To celebrate that special time
That we await each year –
The season that blankets the earth
With peace, love, and good cheer.
Our thoughts are now on presents, and
The greatest gift of all
That we’ve received – our Savior’s birth
In a crude stable, small.
That night, shepherds watching their flocks
Heard angel choirs sing.
They hurried to Bethlehem to
Worship the newborn King.
There was one bright star in the sky–
So the great story’s told —
That led three wise men with gifts of
Frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
‘Though two thousand years have passed, we
Still celebrate this day –
The birth of our Redeemer, whose
Teachings are here to stay,
Many people of good will still
Follow that same bright star,
Keep alive the tradition that’s
Helped make us what we are.
Emil Schmit is the 88 year old father of Pam Buttikofer, one of the owners of Imperfect Women. Emil continues to write although age and health issues have slowed him down a bit. He is a is a self-trained poet, free-lance writer, public speaker, and journalist. His weekly column, “Rhyme and Reason,” appeared for over twenty years in the Dubuque, Iowa daily newspaper, the Telegraph Herald. You can read more of Emil’s Bio here. The typewriter pictured on the bio page is one that he sat at for over 50 years creating many of his “rhymes and reasons.”