News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 22, 2012

THE JOY LADY: At this season of distractions, let’s remember the greatest gift

Verna Davis
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It’s Christmas. That means … fudge … Santa … cookies … shopping … candy canes … overspending … chocolate-covered cherries.

Well, maybe not the chocolate-covered cherries. Not since that Christmas Eve when my sister and I overdosed on them. Long about bed time, we were feeling the effects of too much chocolate, syrup and candied cherries. We were two very green, very sick young ladies. I don’t know how many trips to the bathroom we made, nor how many sets of sheets we went through.  All I know is that when your sister is sick and upchucking, you don’t want her to be in the bunk bed above you. To this day, I dislike chocolate covered cherries.

I also dislike parking at the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Or should I say, “non-parking” at the mall?  Remember the parking lot scene in “Fried Green Tomatoes”? Two young hip ladies whip into the parking spot Evelyn Couch had spied. When they shouted to Evelyn that it didn’t matter they took the spot from her because they were younger and faster, Evelyn cracked. She backed up and rammed their VW with her station wagon. Six times in all. When they rushed out to yell at her, she smiled, “Face it, ladies. I’m older and I have more insurance.” We can laugh because we understand Evelyn. I can do without the crowded parking lot scene at Christmas.

And while we are on the subject of what we could do without, what about the endless variations and mutilations of our favorite Christmas carols? I mean, they are favorites for a reason — they are just fine the way they are. “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World” cannot be improved on, so don’t try. (However, if you want to take the sticks away from that repetitious “Little Drummer Boy,” I would not object.)

I could also do without Christmas leftovers. We should not even pretend we are going to eat them. Feed the gravy to the dog Christmas afternoon. If you don’t, next week you will unsuspectingly open the margarine tub seeking to discover its contents. For quite a while you will stare at a mass of a congealed brown gelatinous substance with a crack in the center of it before you remember it is leftover Christmas gravy and end up feeding it to the dog, anyway. Why not give it to Rover while it is still warm and he can enjoy it more?

At this time of the year, it’s good to remember what a gift we were given. Jesus is the greatest gift to mankind. It was He who said, in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus shines brighter than the brightest light on the biggest tree. He is a gift we can never get too much of. We never have to hunt for a place with him, for in John 14:2, Jesus tells us “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

No one will ever be able to present to us a better gift.