tMichaelB is the web site for Tom Bengtson, who writes about business, religion, family and politics.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

Now that December 25th has passed, I finally have a little time to think about Christmas. The Incarnation is such a great blessing, God made man, in the flesh. It brings a sort of sanctity to materialism –- not in the sense of what we see at the shopping malls in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but in the sense of our earthly life, the here and now, that those people and things around us are important…really, really important.

We got a DVD player in our house recently and I discovered that movies for home viewing often include “additional material” –- things like deleted scenes and an interview with the director. Wouldn’t it be cool if it worked this way for writers? If I should ever publish another book, I will be certain to include in the back all the material that I initially decided to cut out.

But wouldn’t it be even cooler if it worked this way in life? I would love to be able to delete some scenes from my life, or include extra scenes, or add an interview to explain what I was trying to do. If we were making a DVD about the Bengtson family in 2005, it might include these scenes:

* The entire Bengtson clan, all 29 of us, meeting in the Wisconsin Dells for a family reunion in July
* A Kjos family reunion, featuring barbecue in our back yard
* Paula, our 10-year-old fifth-grader, playing in her first piano recital
* John, our 9-year-old third-grader, playing in two guitar recitals
* Catherine, our 6-year-old first-grader, learning to ride a bike without training wheels
* Michael, our 3-year-old, entering pre-school
* Susan, the gracious matriarch, helping too many people to count
* And Tom, learning for a week at Georgetown University on a fellowship for business reporters.

Deleted scenes: I would edit out frustrations at work related to our facilities; Hurricane Katrina which permanently damaged New Orleans, one of my favorite cities; and the Gopher football season, featuring a team that at times showed so much promise but ultimately lost too many games to earn even an end-of-season ranking. (Good luck at the Music City Bowl, Dec. 30!)

Bonus interview: I would explain how much I love my wife and kids, how much I value friendship and family, how grateful I am to my colleagues at work, and how much hope I have for all of us living in the early 21st Century despite debilitating distractions and damning temptations.

Christmas Day was a great blessing at our home, and if anyone had filmed it, they would have seen a gift exchange that delighted the children and adults alike, sledding in the afternoon, and our first-ever fancy family dinner in the dining room. Christmas Mass the evening before grounded us in the meaning of the day, which we celebrate only because God gave us something to celebrate.

We wish you a blessed season during the remaining 12 Days of Christmas, and a bountiful new year.

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