What Christmas is All About: Family and Faith

by Lois Bolin, Ph.D., Old Naples Historian

Christmas is truly a magical time with its lore and myths around Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, and the North Pole. If you have children, you know what I mean. For us grownups, there is another kind of magic when we leave behind life’s seriousness and stress and delve into the purity of the lore, where our lost innocence is remembered and celebrated.

There is another kind of magic surrounding this holiday. It is the birth of Christ. Most Christians today can’t imagine Christmas on any other day than December 25, but for the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence; Jesus  Christ’s  birth wasn’t celebrated at all. Instead the Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus’ birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, were observed.

New England’s Puritans, our modern day Grinches, banned its observance because the traditions of gifts and tree decorating were considered pagan rituals. Following the American Revolution, Christmas fell out of favor as it was considered a British custom. It took until 1870 for Christmas to become a federal holiday. Penne L. Restad, author of Christmas in America: A History stated, “This idea of creating a nation becomes important and Christmas was part of how the nation came to be.”

One of America’s favorite traditions, A Charlie Brown Christmas, won’t be seen on network TV anymore. Remember how our protagonist lamented that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost in a sea of commercialization and cynicism? Just when he is close to losing all hope, his friend Linus saves the day and recites Luke 2:8-14, the story of angels announcing the birth of the Christ child to a group of shepherds. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

We still have our modern day Grinches, who are off-set by our modern day Linuses, who live the magic and meaning of Christmas every day. I know because I have met a few recently.

Jim and Joy Boatman: Leaders of Love. Jim describes himself in this order: a disciple of Jesus, husband of my Joy (his wife), father of four gifts, and managing Shareholder of Boatman Ricci. I came to know Jim from, where else, Facebook and after getting to know him; it dawned on me that this is a man who truly walks the talk of Christ. Jim is the Founder of Diligent Citizen and Citizens Awake Now, organizations dedicated to providing unbiased, nonpartisan information for more informed decision making. He is also President of Christian Gifting Collaborative, Inc., which assists with fundraising and donation management.

Doctors Drew and Kanema Clark : The Dynamic Duo. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being around Dr. Drew and his oh so elegant wife, Kanema, you’d understand why they are called the dynamic duo. After Drew came in second in the House of Representative District 80 race, these two did not skip a beat in their dedication to serving their community. They are the owners of Arc of Life Family Spinal Care, and co-founders of IScout, cutting-edge cloud based solutions, which turns your unorganized data into actionable business information. In their spare time, when they are not enjoying their three daughters, you’ll find them giving inspirational talks to churches, organizations and families.

Jordan and Danielle Tompkins: The Fitness Family. While Jordan, a Merrill Lynch Senior Portfolio manager, helps with a family’s financial fitness, his darling bride, Danielle, works with a family’s nutritional fitness. Jordan, a USAF Veteran, serves on the Board of Directors of the Collier County Veterans Council, and The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7721. He and his wife (who has a beautiful singing voice) are active members in their church and find their greatest joy in the great outdoors with their two daughters Moreh and Anabelle along with their furry family member, Finn.

Here are few of the lessons I have learned from these modern day Linuses: cherish your family, friends and country; be thankful for what you have; and be generous to those you love and those less fortunate. Until next year, I send you best wishes for this Christmas season and hope your best days in 2020 will be your worst days in 2021.

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