Younger people are shocked when they find out that I was born in the era of "pre-television". I remember the first day that we got the big box that only showed one black and white event at a time with live commercials. O Canada was played at the end of the broadcasting day followed by a test pattern with a soft but steady squeal that could be observed until the following morning.
As technology advanced, we wished that we could sit and watch all the holiday shows instead of travelling to visit relatives but there wasn't any way to record them.
Things are so different now. I have so many cable channels that by the time I go through all the menu I often have missed the show that I might have enjoyed. There are ways to record anything so that I can replay it later or repeatedly but you have to plan ahead and make sure you have done the setup properly. Netflix not only has dozens of viewing choices but also makes suggestions based on what I have previously watched.
So it is December and there are unlimited seasonal choices that revolve around a handful of themes:
1. Spiritual - Christmas is named after the baby Christ who ancient scriptures reports was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn. You can watch the screen version in black and white, colour or cartoons performed by a large variety of actors.
2. Musical - Choose whether you want to listen to instrumentals, choirs, or soloists from the community or the professional world and/or enjoy various forms of dance.
3. Romantic - These stories often have the same template. Boy meets girl. They don't like each other. They are forced to spend time together because of a twist of plot and voila, by the end of the ninety minute production they are in love!
4. Comedy - There is no end to the number of antics that can occur some which are reasonable and others that are just totally ridiculous.
5. Miraculous - A loved one is ill, or missing, or making bad choices. Everyone is worried but through the wonder of the season everything turns out perfectly just before the credits begin.
Life is not like the movies. Problems are not solved in less than two hours and no matter how much you pray for a miracle, it might not occur. Romance can occur quickly but long-term commitment takes time and work. Musicals inspire but the memory of them can be fleeting. Christmas can be disappointing or lonely or stressful for many. Often laughter is missing.
There are many seasonal events and presentations available for us to enjoy this month. We need to remember, however, that as time passes things can lose their meaning. What has endured and will continue to endure is the spiritual story that occurred over two thousand years ago to offer hope for those who listen and grasp it.
Enjoy the entertainment that the world offers but remember to focus on the real reason for the season.
Merry Christmas, everyone!