I wasn’t going to post anything before the New Year – and it’ll be a while after that – but I ran across three very different Christmas stories in the last couple of days that to me, say a lot about our modern life.
It’s a safe assumption that any newspaper story headlined “Man in Santa suit opens fire at Christmas Eve party” isn’t going to end well. Sure enough, this horrific tale of a quiet, divorced, church-going loner turned into a cheap horror movie when the demented fool donned that Santa suit, picked up his guns and a homemade flame thrower, then knocked on the door of a house where his ex-wife was attending the party. Bullets flew, flames were thrown, and when the smoke cleared, nine people were dead and the house was in ruins. I can’t imagine most of you haven’t heard/read about this one by now, but if not, here you go – the ugliest, saddest Christmas story I’ve ever heard.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all guns and fire this Christmas Eve. In a town called Burnsville, Minnesota – no kidding – it was just fire, as a big apartment building burned down, torching the possessions and lives of everyone living there. But sometimes Christmas miracles really do happen: an anonymous donor came to the rescue in a very big way, providing the fire victims with a new start. This is a good one - a fairy tale Christmas story that happens to be real.
Then we have the big picture from Jon Carroll, who writes an excellent daily column for the San Francisco Chronicle. Here, he puts this peculiarly unique holiday in perspective – what matters, what doesn’t, and why.
Read it with someone you love.
Happy New Year, folks...