Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Christmas comes every day

 by Julie Carter

The catalogs that clogged the mailboxes for two months have ceased arriving only to be replaced with endless piles of Christmas cards, each expressing good wishes for a holiday season.

Tucked among those colorful happy-grams is the occasional glaring reminder that January is within spittin’ distance – such as a notice from Turbo Tax offering bigger and better ways to make money on my tax return.

People everywhere are in the grips of the last minute “I’m not ready for Christmas” anxieties.

Me? Over the years, I’ve done both. I’ve been organized, scheduled, on time and ready early and I’ve been late, never got it done, and more than once, sent my Christmas letters in January or not at all. And no one seems to remember or care which year was which.

I prefer the laid-back-late-plan so I am successfully working toward that goal again this year. I look at it as my rebellion to the commercialism of the season and the importance that is put on all the wrong things.

It also means I’ve learned that Christmas is only 24-hours long, that there is a day after Christmas and a day after that.

I love Jesus and I love the reason we honor this day for Him. What I don’t love is the tidal wave of retail pressure that surfaces at the end of summer and builds to a crescendo rivaling both the Holy birth and the resurrection. Pretty much takes the fun out it as far as I’m concerned.

So in my attempt at a wise adulthood, I decided I didn’t have to give up the joy of Christmas. The way to do that for me was to not sign up for the schedule dictated by the marketing world, the post office or anyone else who put themselves in charge of Christmas.

I often get wishes for my birthday late, sometimes early and sometimes not at all, but it doesn’t steal from my joy of being alive to have another birthday. I appreciate the thoughts whenever they come. I chose to believe Jesus feels the same way.

One of things I love most about ranching is that the very nature of the industry forces generation after generation to keep their priorities in order. Christmas comes every December, but so does winter, breaking ice on livestock waters, feeding cattle and for some, the onset of calving season.

On the menu are cold crisp mornings that look the same seven days a week including Christmas day. You’ll find each stockman bundled up in layers of coats and vests; hat pulled down tight and gloves nearby as they drive off in the feed pickup to tend to next year’s paycheck.

The routine of the work to be done happens without boundaries dictated by a calendar, catalogs or 60 percent-off sales at the big-box stores.

At the ranch, Christmas -- we still call it that and always will -- is celebrated in every time-honored way. But with that reverence comes a dedication to the priorities -- caring for the livestock first.

The critters have no idea it is any day other than another day to be alive – waiting in anticipation for sounds of the feed pickup that comes without question.

The least we can do, as beings with the ability for a higher level of thought, is to learn from them. For those that look to and for Him, Jesus will come bringing daily feed, manna to the faithful and so much more. It’s His priority.

Merry blessed Christmas to you all.

Julie can be reached for comment at

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