Merry Christmas, Pinhead

Twelve long months ago, America was in the throes of Holiday Shopping Season ’07.  It was a simpler time.  The Dow was safely over 10,000, and we were all wondering whether it would be Hillary or Giuliani in the White House come January ’09.

I push my cart carrying 250 pounds of chicken feed up to the feedstore counter.  The pretty girl behind the register nods and says hello.  It’s hard for her not to remember the giant white man with a beard and a Stetson who always guides five 50-pound bags through the narrow checkout lane.  As she hands me the receipt, I say reflexively, “Merry Christmas.”

She looks directly at me, smiling, eyes narrowed, and nods.  “Yes.  Merry CHRISTMAS!”

It wasn’t a bright, elven “Yes!  Merry Christmas!”  She spoke with a knowing, in your face, liberal America air of defiance.  And that made me smile.

Then it made me wonder.  Heading back to the farm in my pickup truck, I turned down Haggard and relit my pipe when the thought occurred to me: Wonder what she thinks about the Incarnation?

I was in no position to go back to the store and assign a 500-word essay, “What Christmas Means to Me,” to the girl in jeans whose name tag I am careful not to stare at, so I was left to my own musings.  She’s probably no theologian. ...

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