One of my first cousins and her husband are long-haul truck drivers. Lisa and Greg crisscross the nation together through rain, hail, sleet, snow, sunshine slowdown – the whole weather gamut. Their trailer is filled with a wide variety of goods, and their cab has all the comforts of home. Which is good. Because it IS their home a lot of the time.

Through social media, Lisa keeps friends and family up to date on their whereabouts, and it’s fun to see where their travels take them. We’ve heard all about everything from blinding snowstorms in South Dakota winters to asphalt-melting, broiling hot, middle-of-nowhere Texas summers. She tells tales of blown-out tires, engine repairs, and having to stop in unexpected places because of driving time restrictions. She also has quite a pictorial collection of sunrises, sunsets, mountains, and fruited plains from sea to shining sea that she shares on a regular basis.

I wanted to mention them now because they are definitely the stars of this year’s Christmas season. They and their comrades in convoys are doing their best to help make sure the shelves are stocked with as much merchandise and essentials as possible. That’s no small feat in 2021. I’m pretty certain Lisa and Greg will be extremely busy right up until Santa makes his well-known nighttime run. Hopefully he’ll have a full sleigh.

Speaking of Santa and Christmas, I read a suggestion the other day about maybe postponing the holiday a bit. You know, give the ships off the west coast harbors time to unload bunches of goodies and my truck-driving cousin a better chance to get those goods where they need to be. Maybe wait a month or so, perhaps even longer. Wouldn’t getting and giving presents brighten up late January’s or February’s notoriously gloomy weather?

The birth of Jesus could still be celebrated on December 25th which might even make that commemoration even more special since all the attention would actually be on Him in the first place instead of on what’s under the tree.

Actually, based on a bit of research, it seems that December 25th date is kind of nebulous to begin with. The Bible doesn’t really mention a specific date, nor apparently did early Christians. Those initial believers were not exactly welcomed with open arms by the Roman establishment of the times. The holier celebration for them (and for many Christians today) was and is Easter, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The early church leaders had to contend with a bunch (a whole bunch) of Roman gods and goddesses, not to mention pagan holidays. One of those I actually learned about in my Latin classes back in high school. (Dad thought it would be a good idea for my sisters and me to learn where the roots of many English words came from. He was right, but I really didn’t think it was necessary at the time.) One of my teachers told us about the Romans honoring their god of agriculture, Saturn, at this time of year. The festival of Saturnalia was held annually to celebrate the Winter Solstice. According to my teacher, not greetings of “Merry Christmas,” but cries of “Io, Saturnalia” were heard throughout the land. That doesn’t lend itself to many song lyrics as we know them. It’s doubtful anyone was dreaming of a white Saturnalia, but I’m sure those Romans figured out something.

The early Christians weren’t keen on commemorating the “birth of the unconquered sun” (preferring the “birth of the unconquered Son”), so it seems that at some point they or their successors may have appropriated the event and claimed that it was the time of Jesus’ birth. Pretty creative thinking if you ask me. From Rome the celebration of the nativity spread around the known world at that time. Germanic tribes later added things such as yule logs and evergreen decorations, and a popular medieval feast saluting a gift-giving St. Nicholas of Myra led eventually to today’s Santa and his toy bag.

With all that in mind, is it so far-fetched to postpone just the gifting part of the celebration in this on-going pandemic pity-party we’re all reluctantly living in again this year? Maybe we could ease into it and teach our instant-gratification culture a bit about patience being a virtue. Tell the kids Santa got Covid. They’ll understand that. (Well, maybe.) Then wait until those truckers can make their appointed rounds and wish lists can be fulfilled.

Christmas can still be Christmas, and just perhaps, the spirit of the season can be kept even longer. Might be worth a thought.


©MMXXI. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer