Tag Archives: Christmas

All I Want For Christmas Is Some Peace and Quiet

I was rummaging through some old papers and documents the other day when I ran across this little gem from an English Composition class.  This was an argumentative paper that reflected just the opposite of a topic that the writer strongly believed in; I chose Christmas.  Now here comes the disclaimer; I love everything about Christmas!  As you read through this narrative, you may notice that there are distinctive undertones of cynicism, yet between the recesses of the lines and words, there are significant truth bombs more relevant now than ever.  I hope you enjoy reading, “All I Want For Christmas is Some Peace and Quiet”!

Here it comes again.  I can see it in the stress-etched faces of passers-by, eyes fixated in terror.  Soon there will be no turning back for anyone; no credit card will be left untouched.  As Thanksgiving approaches, one has a sense of urgency and uneasiness, of unjustified dread.  Unjustified that is, until you are stretched out on your favorite sofa, channel surging one evening and you come across a commercial just bursting with holiday cheer.  It is only then that panic permeates your entire body, leaving you numb and listless.  Santa Claus is coming to town again, corrupting your children and robbing you blind in the process.

Not that there is anything wrong with the holiday season.  Peace, good will toward men is a very noble reason to celebrate Christmas, not to mention the Christ child’s birthday.  But given today’s emphasis on sensationalism and commercialism, the three wise men would do well to present gifts of Prozac, Valium, and Ritalin.  The distorted, commercialized ritual of Christmas begins with shopping for the unappreciative, followed by the search for the elusive perfect tree, and finally climaxes with the distribution of gifts to family members, immediately followed by the requests for the receipts of such sought after gifts.  So why DO we do this to ourselves?

Shopping has always been a fun, leisurely sport, enjoyed typically by those who actually have money to spend.  But when the Christmas season hits, it is every man, woman and shoplifter for him or her self.  Mothers and wives exchange their aprons and pot holders for pepper spray and baseball bats, anything that will give them an advantage over the other toy hoarding citizens that no doubt have already given one of their kidneys for the newest gizmo on the market.  One week before Christmas, everyone is so dazed and confused, they continue to buy that something special for individuals not even on their Christmas list.  All that matters now is that we have sufficient gifts for whomever may drop by; the mailman, the minister, the local orphanage—it is of no consequence; just be prepared.  As the shopping comes to an end, there is a slight pain in the pit of the stomach as you realize, “Man, I have to wrap up all of this crap!”  After all the gifts are beautifully wrapped, we try to stuff the mini mall of merchandise under a tree that only has a floor to tree clearance capable of accommodating a comic book.

Finding that special tree has always been an exercise in tolerance and ambition.  Some folks like to travel the hillsides, scanning the horizon for anything that still looks green, spruce like and big enough to withstand the weight of five tinsel laden boxes of holiday cheer.  Others prefer to wander through the fire retardant forests of Walmart, torn between the permanently snow laden pine or the ever famous, one piece, sit and trim.  Finding the right tree is the easy part; trimming the tree can be suicidal.  There is an unwritten rule that a string of Christmas lights will work as long as they are not attached to the tree.  Once applied, the Christmas tree lights have a mind of their own.  Rule number two deals with the application of decorative bulbs and garland.  No matter how many boxes of tinsel you have, it is just not quite enough.  The last rule applies to the tree itself.  There are always five times as many gifts as there is room under the tree to place them.  But why worry; the gifts will soon be given to family and friends anyway, right?

Family gatherings have always been the mainstay of the holidays.  One can almost feel the anxiety and irritation rising from the depths in anticipation of another “encounter”.  The location may vary, even the time frame may hover within two weeks of Christmas but the “encounter” remains a constant.  The gathering begins with the initial greeting at the door.  While still clinging to a favorite relative, you begin to scan the interior of the house for a “safe place”, a little bit of territory to call your own.  Next comes a little chitchat, a review of deaths from the previous year and a little catch up on the families’ aches and pains.  Any potential discussions relating to recent surgeries are reserved for the holiday meal.  While the adults are wasting away the hours bemusing themselves with nonsense, the children are circling around the gifts, perfecting their scotch tap removing skills, and preparing for the impending gift opening frenzy.  When the time arrives to open the gifts, the kids are oblivious to anything around them except for the shiny new toys unwrapped by other kids.  Their sense of greed overwhelms their sense of excitement and a squabble is sure to ensue.

The parents, on the other hand, have a more succinct sense of dread as everyone sits around in the circle of judgment and waits their turn.  One by one, the adults open their gifts as everyone else waits for the recipient’s reaction.  It is wise at this time to “psych out” the spectators with a broad smile and approving nod; sharing your real impressions of the gift can wait until the interesting drive home.

Again, that nagging thought crosses the mind, why DO we do this to ourselves.  It is time to start shopping for compliments for one another, not for the material trash we bestow upon our friends and family.  Wouldn’t it be better to embellish someone’s self-esteem than to spend hundreds of dollars prettying up a dead tree?  When it comes to family gatherings, I think that all of us would enjoy the Christmas holiday just a little more if we could just drop the dramatics and be ourselves.  Christmas is all about the Christ child, childlike fun and tradition, not unwarranted guilt and obligation.  So go ahead and deck the halls with boughs of holly; I’ll be the contented one in the corner, having a very merry Christmas of my very own.

Wilson Christmas Letter 2017

 

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas from the Wilsons!!

A big “HEY” to our treasured family and friends!  We hope that your year has been full of fun filled moments and cherished memories.  Jenny already has our house in festive mode inside and out; she is perusing what kinds of incredible edibles she can whip up for this Christmas season.  Soon the dishes will be stacked high and the flour will be flying!  (Just kidding Jenny…honest!)

Our year began with Crystal changing our official titles of, “Grandma” and “Grandpa” to Gum Gum and Pops!!  Yep, that’s right; we have been “rebranded” and couldn’t be happier…I don’t know how she chose Pops, but Crystal saw Jenny chewing gum and I think it stuck…the name anyway…

Jenny and I started out the year with a nice vacation at Disney World; just two elder children wandering through the Magic Kingdom while wondering what Crystal will think of it all in a few years.  We went to Gatlinburg for a week in May and toured the burned out areas of the region, including our Tree Tops Resort that lost more than half of its’ buildings including our unit.  We were due for a vacation at Edisto Island in September but one of the many hurricanes this year preempted our stay until April of next year.

One of the family’s great tragedies this year was the loss of my sister, Jennifer on October 25th.  She has left such a chasm in our hearts that I fear healing will be both very slow and painful.  We will all miss her zest for life, her candid, “shoot from the hip” demeanor and her passionate love, for she loved fully and unconditionally.  She left this life like she lived it; on her terms.  Jennifer may not have been granted physical healing, but God granted her another ten plus months to experience true emotional and spiritual healing that had eternal ramifications.

Crystal will be three in January and has continued to steal our hearts.  Crystal is very intelligent and insightful; many times she will make a remark that makes us pause and question, “where did THAT come from?”  She is certainly a free Crystalspirit who can be very quiet and composed, but suddenly will break out in song or exclaim, “There’s a bear!”  Crystal is very much into play acting now and you never know who she is going to be.  One moment she might be Millie, her cousin or any member of her preschool class.  All I have to say is, Justin and Alison are in BIG trouble…

Under the category of pity poor me…I’m mourning the passing of my fifties…Yep, I’m sixty now…makes me a little nauseous when I hear that; I believe the thought makes my older siblings a little uncomfortable as well.  Jenny and Alison lessened the blow by taking me to Ocean Isle Beach, NC for a few days of “reality adjustments”.

As I bring our Christmas letter to a close, I am reminded of the fragility of life and how we so often take for granted what is truly a gift from God that keeps on giving; the magic of ordinary days.  The lyrical laughter of a child, perhaps the friendly banter with coworkers, or a much needed phone call from a friend or loved one are just simple reminders of love wrapped in the every day.  And while it might seem a little unrealistic to expect everyone to just drop what you’re doing and ponder on your life, all I’m asking is that you perhaps take the time to readjust your heart, even for a while, to one of thanksgiving.  Slow down a little, use all of your senses so you can truly experience all the blessings around you.  Kiss your spouse, hug your kids, make that call, patch that relationship, and forgive those silly grievances you may have with another, for we don’t know how much time we have with them or they with us.  And please remember one thing this Christmas season, peace on earth and good will towards men begins at your own front doorstep…

Much love to you and yours this Christmas and always!!

From Gum Gum, Pops and Izzy the dog

Steve and Jenny

Thought of the Day–12/16/17

Christmas Cross

Thought of the Day—Jesus isn’t the reason for the season…we are…For if sin had not entered into this world and if we were not in such a desperate state of need, there would be no need for a Savior to save us from our sins…but here we are, with that very need.  So we, the receivers of God’s most perfect gift, celebrate the gift of Jesus this season and we worship God the Father for His perfect love for us!  John 3:16-17 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Thought of the Day–12/1/17

NATIVITY

Thought of the Day—As we transition from the season of thanks to the season of giving, we need to continue to be in an attitude of thanksgiving.  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Wilson Christmas Letter 2016

vintage-christmas

It’s December 1st!  The turkey has been tossed and the pumpkin pie pitched.  The credit cards are still very warm and flexible from Black Friday.  Yep, we are firmly snuggled in to the holidays.  But what comes next you might ask?  Well, the annual Wilson Christmas letter of course!  So curl up with your favorite large mug of stimulant and enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from the Wilsons!!

 

A big welcome from the state of confusion; from wildfires to floods, riots to bathroom laws, not to mention a political swing state!  And it is going to take more than Bath and Body Works to remove the stench from this election year.  But alas, I digress…

This year has been fairly uneventful family wise.  I am still adjusting to being “Stevie Homemaker” as I have not yet started back to work.  This doesn’t mean I’m sitting around all the time; every day seems to bring on a new set of “opportunities” that keep me quite busy.  In fact, I’m not sure how we got everything accomplished when we both worked.   I am still writing as I am led and inspired so if you have a burst of courage or curiosity, log in to www.lifesimplyspoken.com and take a peek!

Jenny celebrated (tolerated) her twenty-fifth year working for OneAdvanced which used to be Vista which used to be Advanced which used to be CSH Group which used to be Iris, which used to be Transoft, which used to be Easirun which used to be Sinc, Inc.  No wonder she answers the phone with “UHhhh?”  One of the big highlights for Jenny this year was being called for jury duty to serve as a juror on a murder trial this fall.  All of her prayer efforts seemed to pay off as they suddenly had to postpone the trial and she was off the hook.

We managed to take a couple of vacations during the year; we went to North Myrtle Beach in April and to the Shenandoah Valley in September. Alison, Justin and Crystal were able to meet us at the beach for an extended weekend and it was great watching Crystal experience the sand and surf for the first time.  I also sneaked back up to Ohio in late September to say “HEY” to former coworkers and family as well as pick up “Buckeye supplies”; items we crave but can’t get in North Carolina.

Jenny and I are also fully embracing our roles as grandparents for there is no role more rewarding.  Crystal will turn two on January 31st of next year and I know Alison and Justin can’t wait to wander into the “terrific twos”!! Watching little Crystal grow and swinging-crystallearn is pure joy in action.  Looking back at this past year in pictures of Crystal’s life, there has been such a dramatic change in appearance, abilities, and personality.  Crystal loves to analyze every little thing that goes on around her so many times, she has a very serious looking face which makes picture taking a challenge.

Crystal has a great little sense of humor, loves to try new things, and doesn’t forget anything.  Her favorite color is purple which thrills her grandma to death.  One of her favorite toys is a Minnie Mouse scooter car we got her last year.  She just loves to fly up and down the hallway on it.

One of the highlights during the Thanksgiving season was three generations working together to make pumpkin pies.  Crystal’s attention span was waning just a bit but I’m sure Grandma Wilson won’t be deterred and this will become a regular learning time.

As I bring our Christmas letter to a close, I am reminded of how divided our country is as we approach 2017.  We will have a new president at the helm and we need to lift this new administration in prayer as they attempt to unite our broken country and move forward with one identity—Americans! There are many who would love to see our nation fail and fall but I would like ALL of us to disappoint these factions and begin the healing process from the inside out.  Believe it or not folks, we are all on this same boat called the USS USA and whether you consider this a battleship, a cruise ship, a party boat, or a simple houseboat we are ALL in this together and if we don’t get this right, we will ALL go down with the ship.  What better time of year to put into practice “Peace on earth, good will toward men”.  But it starts with me…and you…2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

From Jenny, Steve and Izzy the dog

Wilson Christmas Letter 2015

Front DoorFrom our house to yours–Merry Christmas from the Wilson’s!! I have been writing Christmas letters since 1994 but here’s to the first one on my blog site!  Enjoy!!

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa Wilson!!

This has been one VERY life changing year for the Wilson family as we have experienced everything from exceptionally MAJOR life changes to diaper changes. This Christmas season finds us in a state of peace and wonderment at all that has transpired this past year.

Little Crystal Nicole arrived into this world on January 31st which was a few weeks ahead of schedule. Alison was placed on bed rest in late November with complications and we breathed prayers while holding our breath through the next several weeks until Crystal was delivered. Alison continued to have complications after delivery but had a lot of support through those first few months.

DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING IS NOTHING LESS THAN A SAPPY TIRADE OF GRANDMA/GRANDPA-ITIS AND MUST BE READ WITH UPMOST CAUTION LEST YOU FIND YOURSELF WITH A CHRONIC CASE OF DIABETES…that being said…Crystal is the most beautiful perfect creature we have ever laid eyes on…except perhaps Alison…Crystal is a great combination of both her parents with Justin’s eyes and Alison’s cheeks and smile. Crystal has a very calm spirit about her and loves to study and analyze everything and especially likes feeling different textures. She has deep blue eyes which is strange since both her parents have brown. Crystal is ten months old now and has four teeth coming in simultaneously, is crawling everywhere and attempts to pull herself up when she wants to. She has completely stolen our hearts and we are both so thankful to be blessed with this stage in our lives.

Alison and Justin are also adjusting very well to their roles as parents. They have both made it through the “new parent” syndrome so far without too many ill effects and have even conquered the horrendous diaper aromas without too many gags or throw ups. They are now getting a real sense of turmoil a crawler can bring when everything is literally “up for grabs”. Their Christmas tree was the latest victim of little Crystal’s fascination with anything shiny, glittery or just available. Fortunately, Crystal has a real interest in books which keeps her occupied for at least thirty seconds. We’ve received only a few 911 calls to come over and rescue them from a potentially volatile situation with a fussy infant.

Yep, we CAN actually “come over” since we now live right beside of them!! Thus, the second HUGE life changer; we are now living in North Carolina. Our eventual migration south began in the spring. We had been making plans and filling up a storage unit for a few months but after Crystal was born…game on! There were so many miracles and blessings during this time that I can’t really stuff into one measly little Christmas letter so here’s a synopsis. Put the house on the market in May which sold for asking price in one day. Sssoooo, I literally got in the car and flew south to try and secure a job and a house. Job did not pan out and the six houses the realtor showed were real dogs so in crept panic followed by prayer. Next, two nights before I was to head back to Ohio, an offer by Alison and Justin’s next door neighbor to see their house which was not on the market but since they were in the process of building a home, had planned to move out. After an out-of-body experience looking through the house which was perfect for us and nearly passing out after hearing the asking price, we talked it over and I gave a nod and a verbal “ugh”. We closed on our house June 12th and headed south, met the movers at the new house on the 13th and closed on the new house on the 15th of June.

There is so much more that happened during this time and I ask that if you are interested, please go to my blog site: www.lifesimplyspoken.com and read “Pacing in the Waiting Room” and “Pacing in the Waiting Room Part Deux”. Also, you could read “Little Hands and Tiny Feet” which I wrote after Crystal was born.

We know God has a plan for us here in North Carolina and it is not just to be grandparents, even though we do take our role very seriously. Jenny and I welcome and embrace the new adventures that await us as we continue this journey. We are so excited to relive the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a little one, where everything is new, alive and exciting. May your Christmas be just as exciting as you share with you and yours this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

From Jenny, Steve and Izzy the dog

Flamingos in the Midst—And Other Christmas Surprises

Wilson_Flock_12-06 2

Christmas has always been a time of surprises and thus was the case at our house one Christmas season.

One morning we awoke to find a fuchsia flock of three dozen plastic flamingos meandering around on our front lawn.  My wife has always prided herself in presenting tasteful decorations both inside and out so the sight of a potential Griswald Christmas palace sent her into a state of shock.

You see our church youth group had developed a pretty successful scheme to raise money during the holiday season.  The idea was to “flock” a family with the colorful trailer trash version of the more popular tropical birds and hold that family captive until a “ransom” of a predetermined amount was paid to the youth group.  Once the ransom was paid, the embarrassed family could then designate the next “lucky” household to be flocked.  A full two weeks after the stationary stilt legged wonders appeared, they disappeared just as mysteriously.  Our daughter sheepishly admitted to honoring us with their presence; fortunately, my wife has a great memory and we have all the time in the world for the eventual “turnabout is fair play”…

But God has always been in the surprise business, even before the first Christmas was celebrated.  For example, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was “chosen” and was going to have a child even though she was still a virgin.  Talk about a scripted dialogue as she announced to Joseph what was about to come to pass.  And of course Joseph got all bent out of shape and thought of divorcing her before “SURPRISE!”, an angel came to him in a dream and basically told him to put his big boy pants on; this was of God…straighten up and do the right thing!  And then there were the shepherds, just minding their own business as well as their sheep when “SURPRISE!”, an angel came to announce the Christ child’s birth…along with a multitude of heavenly hosts.  Talk about a “Depends” moment!

Thinking back though, it should not have been a surprise to anyone since Christ’s birth was prophesied in Isaiah about seven hundred years before the event.  John 3:16-17 NKJV says,16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  What an ultimate gift, humans!! And yet, we go through our lives many times as if nothing had ever happened over two thousand years ago or that in our oh so near future a bigger event WILL take place.  James 5:7-9 NIV states, 7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! This doesn’t mean we need to cower down in a corner somewhere, afraid to live out the life that God has mapped out for us.  It just means, like making all the preparations for Christmas Day that we make preparations for Christ’s second and final arrival.

Are you ready? December 25th comes around once every year and still folks scramble about as if it is a grand surprise on their calendar.  And while we keep an extra gift card tucked away just in case we have an unexpected guest, a $25.00 Big Lots gift card just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to Jesus’ triumphant return.  Just sayin…So as you gather this Christmas with your own “flock” of family and friends, just remember that it is better to be surprised by the ugly sweater from aunt Betty than to be unprepared for eternity.