It’s a Christmas Tree, darn it! Deal with it.

IB Publisher Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from both her column for In Business magazine, and the other bloggers. Awarded national recognition for her previous work as a newspaper columnist, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often! Read Full Bio

Two things this week: One is an invitation to accompany me on a trip to China (!) and the other is a Christmas list of gripes and blessings. This being Christmas week, and me being Christian, that topic can’t be relegated to “second item on the agenda,” so China will have to wait a few minutes for your attention.

Before my list, here’s a little background: Every year at this time, I recite the following beloved reading at our holiday meal, which is entitled, “One Solitary Life” — referring, of course, to the life of Jesus Christ:

One Solitary Life.

He was born in an obscure village, a child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30; then He became an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never did one thing that usually accompanies greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

While still a young man, public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One denied Him.

He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for His only piece of property — His coat. He was laid in a borrowed grave.

Nineteen [now 20] wide centuries have come and gone. Today He is the centerpiece of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned — put together —have not affected the life of Man upon this earth as powerfully as that One Solitary Life.

As to the source, reports researcher April Lorier, “It was supposedly published … and hand set and printed by Doris V. Welsh [for] Newberry Library, in an edition of 150 copies. No information in the book is given for the first published source of this essay by James Allan Francis, D. D. (1864-1928), nor could it be found in the essays and sermons by Francis in the collections of his writings in the Library of Congress. Nor was the Newberry Library able to identify the original published source. Therefore, I am listing the poem as Author Unknown, Public Domain.”

Okay, so you know where I stand and what I believe. Given that backdrop, here’s my Christmas list.

First, the “If I were Santa, I’d give you coal” gripes:

  1. I greeted my friends of the Jewish faith saying “Happy Hanukah” during their recent high holy days, and I want to hear “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” on mine. Thank you.
  2. Elaboration of Point #1: Christian friends — why are you sending me “holiday wishes” cards featuring polar bears or dancing snowmen? We have one sanctified “permissible” opportunity in this society to publicly acknowledge Him via a Christmas card! I especially find it annoying after you gripe with me about how no one wants to say “Christmas” at Christmas time, and then you send me a “Happy Holidays” card, too.
  3. I do enjoy getting personalized “season’s greetings” cards at home from friends of other faiths or business acquaintances if you enclose a little note or photo — that’s a nice way of staying in touch. But blanket holiday cards sent to my home from people/businesses with just your name imprinted? It’s expedient but it tells me your Christmas card list is … too long to be meaningful?
  4. The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. Deal with it. In this “politically correct” environment of Madison, rather than showing “respect for diversity,” we tolerate very little expression of patriotism or religion at all. My Christmas tree is not a holiday tree, folks. It is a Christmas tree.
  5. I am equally annoyed by Christians who believe that our religion is the one and only true religion or that the world revolves around Christians. FYI, not all Christians even believe that our faith should be an “organized religion.” Belief in that One Solitary Life is the real glue. Personally, after years spent in churches, I prefer the “wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name” church and the word “spiritual” to “religious,” but I’m still first and foremost a Christian.
  6. I am weary of “Sunday Only Christians” who are hypocrites when it comes to being of service to others, or truly compassionate toward those less fortunate. If you’re more interested in what you should wear on Sunday than how you might apply the sermon … well, again, what’s the point?
  7. I am even more weary — maybe just getting old and grouchy — of people who lack compassion for those who are even more fortunate than themselves. The well-to-do in Madison — if they have a tragedy or stumble publicly, do we really think they deserve it a little more than the average Joey? I was once told by a prominent local criminal attorney that Madison juries [typically white, middle class folks] are like a pack of dogs on the hunt if the client is rich. I mention this because our faith is often usurped by our pocketbooks, and so that’s a gripe.

Okay, since I feel blessings should outnumber complaints, I’d better stop with this list and get on with it.


  1. Faith.
  2. Family.
  3. Friends.
  4. Health.
  5. Interesting occupation.
  6. Fascinating hobbies.
  7. Pets.
  8. Sufficient money to support #2 and #6.
  9. Life-long learning opportunities.
  10. My connection to you through this blog and my column.

Now — let’s talk about China!
You can preview next week’s blog, which will go out in the next e-zine,
here. This will take you to the invitation to join me for travel to China! Register early to save your seat on the plane already reserved to take us on a 12-day odyssey trip in May.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas holiday, regardless whether you celebrate it in faith or not, and I pray you have the opportunity to enjoy a great bottle of wine in the company of family and friends.

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