It occurs to us sometimes that we are preoccupied with trivia. This thought especially occurs to us when we are watching the news on television or engaging in hilarious but pointless social media exchanges on one of the computer websites that our kids got us signed up on, like Facebook or Twitter.
Of the two “platforms”, the former is a good way to share pictures of the little ones and to wish people a happy birthday without having to go to all the trouble of buying a card and mailing it n at. We have to wonder what the future holds for Christmas cards. We’re still getting and sending them, but there isn’t much inside besides a signature.
We remember in our youth, during the Cretaceous Era, people used to send Christmas cards with a “family newsletter” enclosed. These productions were long on text and short on graphics. No one could afford to develop dozens of pictures to send along, so you had to take Uncle Walt’s word for it that Queenie had 4 pups, young Wally was now 6’3” tall and Suzie got accepted at State. Or that the barn burned down in July and he bought a new pickup with the insurance check. He might include a snapshot of the pickup, though.
Our own family newsletter tended as much toward fiction as fact. Mom was the wordsmith in our house, but when she was done with brother Bill’s appendectomy and who made the honor roll, she would let us include our own entries. We always tried, sometimes successfully, to sneak in something outrageous to amaze our cousins. Like how we climbed Mt. Everest on a pogo stick or ran a 3 minute mile backwards. Once we told how we rode our bikes to Ohio and back. This made the cut because it was technically true, if one overlooked the fact that we started in Espyville, at the Pennsylvania end of the Pymatuning causeway to Andover, Ohio.
Facebook has put an end to the family holiday newsletter just by being there all the time. Why wait to tell a years worth of stuff at Christmas when you can dole it out by the day or even hour? Sadly, if you try to tell a whopper on Facebook your cousins will right away be demanding to see a selfie of you and the Sherpa in your parkas at 29,000 feet. By Christmas, everybody would already know Queenie had pups because there were 20 videos posted within a week of the blessed event. We’d have seen Wally bending down to put bunny ears on Uncle Walt in a hundred pictures and we’d know more about Suzie’s dorm room than we ever wanted. She said that Justin Bieber poster was her roommate’s. Uh-huh.
Then there’s Twitter, which we look at just to keep up with the president who is an inveterate “Tweeter.” Almost everyone in the English speaking world has begged him to stop, but it’s unlikely he ever will. He doesn’t trust the media to quote him accurately when he refers to them as fake news, and to his political opponents as losers, lowlifes and blockheads.
And he might be right. On one channel they were talking about how many Diet Cokes he drinks in one day. They did, like, twenty minutes on it. We think it was a dozen cans. On another channel they were talking about these FBI agents who were having an affair and exchanged 10,000 emails. You’d think that would be interesting, right? You’d also think that only 15 year olds could come up with 10,000 emails. But it wasn’t interesting. It was trivial. It was all about their political opinions.
Anyway, we’ve decided to back away from the news of the moment for a while. We don’t care about the IM of the morning, the Facebook post of the afternoon or the Tweet of the evening. For now, at least, we’re done with trivia because we who are Christians have once again received very big, very important news in a family newsletter known as the Gospel of Luke:
“Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
That’s really awesome new for us believers. If you are one, you know what we’re talking about. If you’re not, we hope you’ll be happy for us. Sing a few carols and raise a cup of cheer with us.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
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