This time of year, we become reacquainted with old friends and family, remembering why we love and miss them. But also, we may remember why we only see them on holidays! All the same, winter brings out in us an innate desire to reaffirm traditions of all sorts. We search high and low for the “right” sweet potatoes for pie. We love the treat and couldn’t imagine a year without it. Yet, we never seem to miss it the other 364 days of the calendar. Food, decorations and song work our collective memories. They connect us to each other and to our past. Even more so, we scan the channels seeking the reaffirming and redundant broadcast of our favorite movies and specials. How can the 25th viewing be more powerful than the previous 24?
One favorite, “A Christmas Story,” is adapted from humorist and author Jean Shepherd’s book, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” Loosely based on his childhood home in Hammond, Indiana, the story is that of youthful desire. Yet, it elegantly lays out the hopes and dashed desires of the protagonist’s “old man” as well. Even as he misses the top prize, he cherishes the one he does receive. And while the rest of the family witnesses his folly, they support him as best they can – at least, for as long as they can. Likewise, no one thinks Ralphie to be incomplete without a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Still, they suspend their legitimate concerns about his safety to support his long-held dream.
Even as we know that our only complete trust may be reserved for our maker, we work to find trust in those around us. Reliability, support and love may not substitute for trust. But, aren’t they close enough?