Christmas, Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Is It Too Late to Think (or Read) About Christmas?

It’s December 27. Some people would call this the Third Day of Christmas. Some people think December 25 is the Twelfth Day of Christmas. For my Russian Orthodox friends, Christmas hasn’t even arrived yet. December 25 for them (in the Julian calendar) is January 7 by our modern (Gregorian) calendar . . . which is the day many Christians celebrate Epiphany, which isn’t altogether unrelated.

Are you confused yet? If so, welcome!

Welcome anyway, of course.

I asked my boss if we’d be getting Orthodox Christmas off work, as we did unorthodox Christmas. He thought I was kidding. It was one of those times when you wish people didn’t know you’re a Mormon. ‘Cuz I can still do a Russian accent.

We had a family member (not me) in the hospital for half of December — in that scary corner of God’s heaven we call Primary Children’s Hospital. Still, with help from lower gasoline prices, we did our usual thing of devoting as much of the month as possible to Christmas music. But it was less than usual, and it feels like it wasn’t enough.

To be sure, every year, as December wanes, I feel there should have been more music. I’m usually not the one making the music (though I made some for 36 Christmases in a row, until this year). But I love it when others make it, too.

Before this late Christmas post is over, I’ll be pointing out two things I enjoyed reading this week. But I must also note that we thoroughly enjoy the newsy (and often artfully written) Christmas letters we receive at this season from friends both old and new.

I — and we — used to write Christmas letters. Cards would be easier, maybe. But in any case the relentless, blessed music of the month crowded that out years ago, to the point that Heidi writes Valentine letters instead — some years? most years? I’ve lost track — and I don’t write Christmas letters much at all. Alas. The closest I’ll get this year is this quite personal, possibly self-centered Thanksgiving blog post, “Thankful Reflections on an Interesting Year.”

But now, those two things I promised.

The first is a recent essay by Orson Scott Card, “Christmas Is about a Baby.”

The second is a surprising little book some astute family members gave me for Christmas this year. It’s by Dave Barry, and my laughs as I read it on Christmas afternoon ranged from small to very large indeed. But it doesn’t just have humor. It has heart. And charm. And it’s going — I am mildly surprised to say — on my shelf next to one of the great short childhood memoirs, Charles Osgood’s Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack.

The book of which I write was published in 2006 and is called The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog. It includes the requisite tale of a Christmas pageant gone badly wrong (in a very Dave Barry fashion), but the biggest laugh for me was not the avalanche from the belfry (sorry for the partial spoiler). It was the . . .

No, you can read it yourself. When you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Dave Barry: The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog

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