Now that the holiday season is upon us, I guess it’s okay to post about the upcoming. It’s actually pretty hard to avoid, living so near Bethlehem. While Easton claims the first Christmas tree in America, Bethlehem was settled on Christmas Eve and named accordingly by the Moravians. It’s a tourist destination for Christmas aficionados everywhere, and, as my wife quotes about 2020, “we could use a little Christmas.” So we headed to the Christkindlmarkt over the weekend. Apart from an abundance of consonants, Christkindlmarkt is a chance for vendors to bring their wares to where tightly shut pandemic wallets are willing to open up a bit. This year, however, the “markt” was completely outdoors rather than under the usual four large tents with heaters running.
It was an enjoyable morning out, with temperatures near sixty—certainly not something you can count on for late November. There were fewer vendors here for a variety of reasons. You get a boost, for example, by getting people gathered together. Our herd instincts kick in. Seeing others spending, we decide to take our chances. Outside the great rusting behemoth of Bethlehem Steel’s famed stacks stands sentinel. This year, however, socially distanced tents and booths meant having to walk and stay back while others browsed, all while wearing masks so that smiles could not be seen. Gathering without gathering. With no interest in leading a charge against the disease on a national level, we’re all left to muddle through.
Several of the vendors had novelties portraying the year 2020 as the disaster that it’s been. Instead of ending it with wishes for national peace, the incumbent is trying useless lawsuits to prevent the voices of voters from being heard. Stirring up his followers to protest against frauds that never happened, while having hundreds of lawsuits awaiting outside his own door as his actual deeds have been examined seriously for the first time. Bethlehem reminds us that peace and hope ought to be in the air at this time of year. Thinking of others rather than ourselves. Do we see that being modeled by 45 and his ilk? Instead I’m standing here outside where there used to be a warm gathering tent. A place where we each donate our body heat to help keep everyone warm. Giving, even as the Republican-controlled senate withholds any stimulus package they think is too generous. Yes, we could use a little Christmas right about now.