Tears and Laughter: A Christmas column

Christmas for writers usually involves early deadlines. And being that this is the Christmas edition I felt that whatever I ended up writing should have a suitable feel and not float too far out into left field the way I have a tendency to sometimes do.

I started thinking about the whole notion of Christmas and how it came to be.

I thought about what it has evolved into being over time and how much of it has to do with giving…and why.

It is easy to get so wrapped into a whirlwind of doing this time of year that we find ourselves not fully present for any of it. If we aren’t careful it can quickly turn stressful.

In fact anytime we start mingling relatives and in-laws under one roof, it tends to produce anxiety in some people and the complete inability to sit down and shut-up in others.

I am convinced family gatherings at Christmastime are what originally inspired eggnog and corn whiskey.

So I was hoping to write a column – like many writers do – that would serve as my Christmas column every year.

But that’s not how it works. Any kind of inspired writing can’t be forced or willed. There is more to it than going in the back room and writing down words.

The words aren’t always there. Or, maybe they are there, but they sound empty once they are on the page.

It almost always takes some kind of spark, some kind of intuitive thought. You can write without it – or deadlines would never be met, but I think most writers would say there is a difference between choosing to write and feeling inspired to write.

And that is what I had been doing, sifting through thoughts searching for inspiration, when McKenzie tapped on the door. She wanted to know why we say it is the year 2014 when she just heard on The Science Channel that the earth is millions of years old.

Now I remind you, I am not a theologian. I was just trying to meet this and every future Christmas deadline ever. But I explained the best I could on the spur of the moment the difference between B.C. and A.D. and how they bring us to where we are today.

I went on to tell her that while scientists teach about evolution, she could trust that ever how it came to be God willed it.

She nodded as if she agreed fully with what I was saying and then she asked, “But Jesus is coming back, right?”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s what he promised.”

She smiled. “Well I sure hope I live to see that,” she said.

I was surprised at how excited she seemed about it all and asked her, “Why do you hope that?”

“Because I want to meet my Lord!” she said. “It’s going to be awesome!” And then she darted away with the enthusiasm of a 10-year-old at Christmas, leaving me with my deadline…and my inspiration.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.