Friday, December 9, 2011

The Goose is Getting Fat

"Christmas is coming.
The goose is getting fat.
Please to put a penny 
In the old man's hat!"

I have a confession to make.  Most of the year, I'm a logical engineering type, a cross between Dilbert, of cartoon fame, and Star Trek's Mr. Spock.  But every December first, the clock turns back and I become a kid again, eagerly counting off the days and making all of the traditional preparations for Christmas.  

The outside lights go up shortly after Thanksgiving, a job traditionally reserved for our second son and best accomplished after dark on the coldest night of the season to date.  

At about the same time, the advent wreath and manger scene come out to assume their rightful places for the season.

The tree is put up and decorated a bit later.  We will not have a full-size tree this year, but a smaller one that will live on a table.  We are still negotiating whether to put it in the living room or downstairs with the TV.  Either place, we will have way too many decorations to use them all.

During all of our preparations we will play Christmas CDs by artists ranging from Luciano Pavarotti to Mannheim Steamroller, and it will be good.

However, at our house, it's just not Christmas until we've heard the John Denver and Muppets Christmas Album (http://amzn.to/tf1QU9) at least once and preferably many times more.  It may be hokey and it may be corny, but for my family  it's an unbreakable tradition.  Nothing does more to put me in the spirit of the season than to hear Mr. Denver join the muppets in "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  Nothing brings home the spirit of the season more than hearing Miss Piggy lead the muppet family in a round of "Christmas is Coming".

"Christmas is coming.
The goose is getting fat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat."

Christmas is not about the lights, or the tree, or the decorations, nor even about the gifts one anticipates receiving, but about the acts of kindness and mercy, charity and good-will one can do for those who can never reciprocate. 

These acts need not be large.  As the song goes on to say

"If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do."

We are not asked to give what we have not, but what we have and 

"If you haven't got a ha'penny then God bless you!"

Every little bit helps.  And you will be blessed.

What acts of kindness, mercy, charity, and good-will will you perform this season?

Why not make it a tradition to continue them throughout the New Year?

"and God bless you!"