Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Transcript - Not enough happens every year during the celebration leading up to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Not enough happens every year of the reason for the season.  If you’re running around saying “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays,” exactly what holiday is it -- unless you are celebrating Hanukah, and that begins shortly -- exactly what is the reason for the season?  It’s an historical fact that this guy named Jesus Christ was born and lived here 2,012 years ago or so, as we know according to the Good Book.  We’re supposed to have traditions.  There are reasons why Christmastime and the Christmas season is supposed to be a spiritual time. You’re supposed to reflect on all the blessings that you have, just like Thanksgiving, all the blessings that you have and the things you’re thankful for, and one of them is the atonement of sin. Check out the rest in today's transcript...

 

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  Not enough happens every year during the celebration leading up to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Not enough happens every year of the reason for the season.  If you’re running around saying “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays,” exactly what holiday is it -- unless you are celebrating Hanukah, and that begins shortly -- exactly what is the reason for the season?  It’s an historical fact that this guy named Jesus Christ was born and lived here 2,012 years ago or so, as we know according to the Good Book.  We’re supposed to have traditions.  There are reasons why Christmastime and the Christmas season is supposed to be a magical, I would say not magical.  Magical has replaced spiritual.  It’s supposed to be a spiritual time of year, not a magical time.  You’re supposed to reflect on all the blessings that you have, just like Thanksgiving, all the blessings that you have and the things you’re thankful for, and one of them is the atonement of sin.

Children may not understand all that, but they can understand simple examples of the Christian spirit.  Stephen Masty writes at The Imaginative Conservative website.  I love this story.  I’m not going to read the whole thing to you, just a couple paragraphs.  Go to today’s Pile of Prep and read the entire thing.  He’s writing about a woman named Patricia Jellicoe.

[reading]

Christmastime is fast upon us, and for many Americans it is an opportunity for spirituality and merriment, family, tradition and fret. Especially fret. No sooner have Black Friday and Cyber Monday unleashed their discounts, no sooner have what John Willson calls the “walmartians” beamed down to smite one another over half-priced shoot-em-up video games, than a responsible parent begins puzzling out a balance between delighting children with Christmas presents at the risk of inculcating blind materialism in a household already jammed with “stuff.” Happily, gentle reader, this dilemma can be partly solved – and cleverly so – by a late British Peeress of the Realm with roots in Old Shanghai.

Patricia, Countess Jellicoe (1917-2012) grew up in 1920s Shanghai, the daughter of an Irish Catholic engineer and his French wife who were, so far as anyone knows, the progenitors of this clever Christmas strategy. [Mike: Then he tells how Ms. Jellicoe ultimately wound up in New York City and how he met her. Cut to the end of the story.] She rented to me, most affordably, a few rooms in her attic and often regaled me over tea. Occasionally she would get the dates wrong, asking if an ancient Tory grandee, whom I had met as a university student in the 1970s, had met me when he served in Harold Macmillan’s Cabinet when I was aged two at most. But usually her asides were historical show-stoppers: “If I told George once, I told him a hundred times – ‘you’re not having that Donald Maclean stay under my roof!’...Of course we didn’t know at the time that he was a Soviet spy...”

By her eighties she had shed any of the reticence of youth and her tolerance of nitwits was probably never very high. At JFK airport, a customs agent began unwrapping, one after another the identical boxes of Scots shortbread she had brought as gifts: “I rapped my umbrella on his counter and declared, ‘Young Man! If you persist I shall take off all my clothes!’ He panicked, stopped and saluted me.” Waiting to cross the street to the Met, “some stranger began yammering at me, and I worked out that he was offended by my fox stole, the kind with the fox-head on it. He was some kind of animal-rights enthusiast. I picked up the head like a puppet and barked at him repeatedly – bow-wow-wow! His eyes widened and he scampered away in fright. Good riddance, if you ask me!”

One Sunday, after she hobbled back from Mass, she explained how her parents had dealt with the problems of materialism at Christmas. She and her siblings were instructed that Father Christmas would only bring them new toys corresponding to how many of their own old toys that they gave away to poor children. “No old toys for the poor, then no new toys for you!” she explained. “It was often difficult,” she recalled, “deciding which dolls we could live without, while wanting new toys and realising that poor children often had no toys at all. Later on, I realised that this builds character as well as a sense of sharing or charity. But it was something of a struggle at first.” By the time that I knew her, by God, the old girl had character to spare.
 
So there you have it; a simple strategy to inculcate self-discipline and charity among the young, while depopulating the overflowing closet or toy-chest. Courtesy of Lady Jellicoe, it is almost as if the Ghost of Christmas Past speaks from China nearly a century ago.

[end reading]

Mike:  That’s an awesome story.  It’s a very worthwhile read, worth sharing with you.  I thank Stephen for posting it and Winston for publishing it.

End Mike Church Show Transcript