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Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
January 2, 2009     Hidalgo County Herald
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January 2, 2009

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HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD Just A Thought FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2009 7 A Picture From The Past Returning to the true meaning of Christmas By RICK KRAFT It is early Christmas morning and there is no video camera ready to roll when our children come down the stairs. The years of "excited as a child on Christ- mas morning" have passed. The days of trying to keep the chil- dren from getting up too early are just memories. At 21 and 20 years of age, a couple extra hours of sleep sounds better to them than waking up morn and dad before the sun comes up. My wife is in the kitchen preparing a breakfast cas'serole that soon will be put in the oven causing our Rick home to smell great. Then. when it is done. my family will start this special day around the breakfast table. The lights are on our Christ- mas tree are sparkling and the area beneath the tree is packed with gifts. I am listening to Christmas music as I type my thoughts into my computer The song "White Christmas" comes on and I look out my window at the blue sky and dry ground realizing that anyone here in southern New Mexico who dreamed of a white Christmas will not ha'e their dream, fulfilled this year. I ponder the true meaning of Christmas. Back in law school I took a course on patents and trademarks. One of the areas we studied was what happens when a brand name becomes so prevalent that the product it is used with generically takes the name of the brand name. This happens in situations such as when all soft drinks become referred to as "Coke" or all facial tissues become known as "Kleenex." For example, when a person says to another. "Can you get me a Kleenex please?" they are using a brand name instead of the product the name is con- ,nected with. Not all facial tissues are called Kleenex. What a company has to do in a situation such as this to pro- tect their brand name is to get the word out that the brand name should not be used generically for the pr0duct. Companies in this situation even have to sue those who use the brand name generi- cally to keep from losing their brand name to public domain.:To me this has alwavs been strange; filing a lawsuit to keep others from using the name you have marketed so well. I share this with you because somewhere along the line the name "Christmas" has become a generic term referring to a holi- day encompassing much more than what is in the name. Christ- mas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. This means Christmas could not have existed before the birth of Christ. If you stop a stranger, on the street and ask what Christmas is, he is likely to say something along the lines of "a day that we exchange gifts." I wonder if the name Christ- Kraft mas could have been held to its true meaning if decades or even a century ago someone had filed lawsuits to keep pure the mean- ing of Christmas. I don't know who would have had standing to file such lawsuits as the name isn't owned by anyone here on earth. We have strayed far from what Christmas is all about. Christmas has be- come commercialized. If it is truly about the birth of Christ, maybe we out to return to the basics of what Christmas should be. the account of the birth of Christ about 2000 years ago is set out in scripture in the Bible. What would Christ- mas be like if it were cel- ebrated the holiday as the birth of Jesus as set out in the Bible? How would we do things differently? Knowing I am step- ping on many toes I will take a stab at this. Nowhere in the account of Christ's birth ia Bethlehem is the concept of Santa Claus men- tioned. For that matter, neither are Christmas trees. Christmas stock- Ings, nor stores running sales. Could a family make it through the Christmas season without Santa Claus or a Christmas tree? Sure. but it would cut across mainstream. Nativity scenes would be proper. We could put a nativity scene outside for others to enjoy. Angels Would be acceptable. Shepherds in the field minding their sheep are part of the Christ- mas story. We could put a star on our roof as the account of Christ's birth includes a star. We should each have a birthday cake and sing "Happy Birthday "since Christmas is about a birthday. Going to church the evening before Christmas or on Christmas day should be part of Christmas as it would draw our focus on what happened two millenniums ago. What music would we listen to? Songs such as "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." "Twas the Night Before Christmas," or "Grandma Go,Run Over by a Reindeer" would fall by the way- side. We would still listen to some great traditional songs such as "O Little Town of Bethlehem." "Away in the Manger," "The First Noel." and "Silent Night." What about gifts? The ac- count of Christ's birth includes the subsequent trip of three wise men traveling a great distance each delivering a gift to the King of kings. Gifts would be accept- able, but I think they would need to take on a different meaning. Maybe we should only give one gift each? Or maybe as the wise men did, only three? The wise men's gifts were unconditional: they didn't expect anything in return. The goal of their journey was to give. not to receive. Christmas today is laden with expectations of receiving gifts. HOw many children (or adults for that matter) would be crushed if they did not receive a single gift? Yet if the focus of what happened at the manger is giving, we should each focus on what we can do for others, not what wereceive or don't receive. Maybe Christmas morning should be about donating time for a good cause that impacts the lives of others. Again, a different focus than wondering about what others have gotten for me. Family should remain a sig- nificant part of Christmas. The birth of a child or a child's birth- day involves family members coming together to celebrate the event or anniversary. Family would stay a key part of Christ- mas, but expectations of receiv- ing gifts would not be part of the gathering. Moving Christmas from standing in a crowd outside a store waiting for the doors to open to baking a birthday cake would be better for each of us. Giving to others without any expectation of receiving would pattern Christ- mas after the actions of the wise men. Putting any gifts received next to a nativity scene rather than under an evergreen tree would tie giving to Bethlehem. Donating time to the less fortu- nate rather than-charging up credit cards would make Decem- ber more fulfilling and January much easier. My challenge to you is to more closely tie your Christmas to the birth of Christ. Evaluate the Christmas you and your family just experienced. I hope your fam- ily Christmas was awesome! But ask the question, how much of your Christmas was commercial- ized or how much of your Christ- mas experience reflects the man- ger birth of our Savior? Family traditions are impor- tant. even critical, but do they need to spin around an over- weight fictitious man crawling down a chimney? Or could they be more focused on a birthday party for a person who split how history is measured into B.C. and A.D? Maybe next year, resist the temptation to commercialize Christmas. Keep the holiday simple. Keep itfocused on what it should be all about. Celebrate the birth of Jesus. Send Christmas cards with a spiritual meaning. Donate more time. Attend church Don't use credit cards. Put a cap on spending for gifts. Hand make your gifts. Donate some or all of what you would spend on gifts to a charity: You'll have a better December. You may be leaving an eternal legacy for your children. Just some thoughts about the Christmas season... Rick Kraft struggles with the same issues set out above. This column is not intended to be judgmental, but is only to help you think throug, h and to address some difficult qu'estions. To sub- mit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftandhunter'com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, NM, 88202-0850. I Submitted by EDMUND SAUCEDOILordsburg Photo courtesy MAYOR CLARK SMITHILordsburg Lordsburg Cafe - 1930s-1950s The Lordsburg Cafe is up and running again today as the Whistle Stop Ice Cream Shop. Bo00'(ler Patrol focuses on the success of euorOe! 00uetc!,n00,!h e Homeland BORDER PROTECTION/E/Paso Sector The U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, which includes the Lordsburg station, is proud to announce the positive outcomes of fiscal year 2008. The mission of the Border Patro is complex, from the en- forcement role of preventing ter- rorism and instruments of terror from entering the United States, to the role of aiding, and in some cases, rescuing the very same people we are attempting to ap- prehend. In fiscal year 2008 the E1 Paso Sector Border Patrol agents arrested 30,312 individuals at- tempting to enter the United States illegally, a sixty percent decrease over fiscal year 2007 and the lowest number in over a de- cade. Among these individuals were 6,253 with criminal records. to include those convicted or wanted for serious offenses such as homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and assaults' Total narcotic seizures decreased twelve percent. This includes a forty-four percent decrease in co- caine seizures and a thirty-three percent decrease in marijuana seizures. The E1 Paso Sector also prosecuted a total of 8.144 indi- viduals, which includes 3.120 felony and 5.024 misdemeanor cases. These numbers are up from 6,386 in the previous year. Deaths of migrants dropped over sixty-eight percent as compared to the same time last year. Agents rescued 47 individuals this year as compared to 119 in 2007. The Border Patrol has made significant improvements but the work is not done. El Paso Sector's Chief Patrol Agent. Victor M. Manjarrez Jr. has stated, "We live in an age that is dangerous and uncertain, but the United States Border Patrol remains committed to the security of the border, we wilt" continue to support the com- munities we serve." Several infrastructure and technology projects have and will continue taking effect through- out the 268 miles of border and, pleted. The cost of the fence, the more than 125, 000 square ranges from $1-million per mile miles that the E1 Paso Sector is to $5.1 million per mile depend- responsible for. It is anticipated ing on the fence type and con- that a total of 80.89 miles of Ve- struction impediments. hicle Fence and 55.96 miles of Prdestrian Fencing will be built by the end of the year. To date, 65 miles of Vehicle fencing has been completed while 26.41 miles" of Pedestrian Fencing has been corn- It's CULb outside! War.00 ,p with o,r dail00 I,nck & dinner 00pecial00! Stop in and see what =e've cooked up tor 00]ou toda00l! FRESHNESS Hot o up p Bread Bo=ls. Loaded Baked Potatoes t:rito Pie * Chili Be.ans naehos * Hot Sandm00ches Hot Cocoa * Hot Tea * Cottee GUARANTEED--ALWAYS! We will be CLOSED Ice Cream, $andwlehe & More January 1-4 for the 575.542.8888 New Year holiday. 208 East Motel Drive * Lordsburg, NM ICE CREAM by the scoop *Cones, Sundaes, Banana Splits, Shakes, Floats & More HOMEMADE CAKES * PIES & COBBLERS * DONUTS PASTRIES