Driving to work at half past five in the morning has its advantages, aside from an extra early start as part of the day shift at the fantasy factory (I called it that just in case someone from work stumbles across this). And it took less than twenty years of schoolin' so I'm almost ahead of the game.
It's pretty dark as merrily I roll along in the wee small hours and yesterday I had a chance to reflect upon one of those happenstances usually thought of as 'things you see when you haven't got a gun' which works out well at so many levels with me, it's terrifying.
After I drove through downtown Norwich and over the Laurel Hill Bridge, turning right up the steep hill overlooking the harbor (except for all the crummy scrub trees that have been allowed to grow wild if not free), beyond the city limits I passed what I guess is a one size fits all holiday light display whose message of inclusiveness, if that's what it's supposed to be, has gotten a little muddled in the translation.
I appreciate outside holiday displays-I just have NO desire to ever erect one or to help build one-that last bit is for my wife who has a very organized approach to Christmas presentations. Of course she does, she's German. My father used to almost kill himself putting together Nativity scenes, the creche, the lights, all the figures, everything that grew more intricate and complex with every passing year, which in his case (and with his acute lack of mechanical abilities (a trait his oldest has inherited) was NOT a good thing.
My dislike of holiday displays can be directly attributed to the thousands of hours I stood in the cold, along with my brothers and sisters, holding strings of lights searching for the burned out bulb after other hours of separating all this crap from a tangle in bags in the basement into which it had all been dumped the previous year on the Feast of the Epiphany. To this day, I believe whoever invented the 'in series' electrical harness for Christmas lights should be crushed to death by fruit cake. Repeatedly.
The display I passed yesterday had all the figures of the Magi, the angels and their good news, and the shepherds and their flock, some or perhaps all of it with motorized and moving parts, because nothing says Jesus' Birthday like a large formed plastic sheep moving its head side to side surrounded by every other imaginable animal (and a couple unimaginable ones). Someone, somewhere is building up a mess of brownie points with His Dad, let me tell you-though it's not doing a lot for me.
I seriously thought about grabbing a photo of it-why else do I have a cell phone? I never make calls and am not sure how to and I am too stumble-thumbed to be any good at texting-but I wouldn't want anyone anywhere to see a photo as a form of an endorsement so a word picture will have to suffice.
I don't think even God could imagine a more pious Nativity scene. Especially when right along side the manger (with a somewhat life-like plastic cow), and obviously part of the overall presentation is a six foot tall Santa Claus next to a palm tree, holding it steady (for his own balance, perhaps?) with his right hand while clutching a replica Bottle of the Pause that Refreshes with the other.
I was so hoping there might be a pack of Lucky Strikes in the breast pocket of his jacket, except he probably sent Donner and Blitzen to the package store for some brewskis to go with the smokes and since they're reindeer they have no clothes, thus no pockets to put the money in.
I flashed on a moment probably closer to fifty years ago where my sister Evan, perhaps in first grade, excitedly reported to Dad that 'Christmas is Jesus' Birthday' and his somewhat terse response, 'has anyone told Him who's paying for the party?'