As we head toward New Year with the Christmas holiday getting further behind us I was reflecting that Christmas memories live forever. I can remember almost every childhood Christmas like it was yesterday. The bright tree covered with angel hair that just appeared magically on Christmas morning. The heavenly aroma of turkey cooking in every house we passed as we walked home from early Christmas services at church. The itchy new scarf wrapped around my neck Mother insisted I wear to keep from catching pneumonia. The presents under the tree, opened early and waiting. But most of all it was family. With ten aunts and uncles and their spouses my brother and I inherited lots of cousins and good times during the holidays.
After spending a lifetime celebrating Christmas where the four seasons would bring cold weather and if lucky, snow to accompany the celebration of the birth in the manger, I have to admit, as hard as I try, it’s hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit here in Florida.
During the 20 years we have been snowbirds, spending the winter in Florida, I’ve always taken solace in seeing the beautiful Christmas trees in the shopping areas and in the lobbies of the apartment buildings as we pass by. I have always tried not to let the tropical weather dampen my Christmas spirit. This Christmas was especially hard for me. Not only because this is the first year I have not spent Christmas with at least one of my children. Something has changed. Something that has a deeper meaning.
Yes, there are a few Christmas trees in the business establishments and public areas, but that’s just about all. Gone are the beautiful trees in the apartment building lobbies. I’ve seen a few trees shining down from the big glass windows in the high-rise apartments, but there is a darkness at the street level this Christmas that I have never experienced before. Political correctness? I can’t think of any other reason why lobbies with buildings that contain multiple ethnicities and religions have opted not to put up Christmas trees for the first time in 20 years.
For years many of my friends who are not Christians have put up a tree, exchanged gifts and celebrated Christmas or Hanukkah with the meaning that it’s a new beginning – a celebration of giving and sharing and being of one community.
What I see happening here is more disturbing than not celebrating with lighted trees at this time of year. What I see is a world in which we are slowly losing a way of life that we have sacrificed and fought so hard to keep. The generations before me were dedicated to ensure that the next generation will have the same freedoms their generation inherited.
Unfortunately, I think that we are slowly losing our way as to how wonderful it is to be an American with all the freedoms and privileges that our ancestors have sacrificed so greatly to secure.
The millenniums of America and those of us baby boomers who appreciate our freedoms had better turn off our iPhones, start taking to one other and work toward protecting the life we have been given. Wake up America before it is too late. Political correctness and apathy are taking over. I already see the slide toward a country I hardly recognize. I never thought I would live to see an America in decline.
Talk about slippery slopes!