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Opinion: The mathematics of Christmas

As much as I like words with the letter “X,” in them, this year I have quit using Xmas, for the more traditional Christmas. There are so many things I don’t know such as why a jolly fat man in a red suit is the designated logo for the occasion of the baby Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem? And how are bunnies and eggs used to express when that same blessed Jesus lost his life at the hands of corrupt government forces? It’s new beginnings, the rebirth of a world recovering from its period of hibernation.

How long ago was it when a woman would have desired, a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds, five gold rings, six geese a-laying, seven swans a-swimming, eight maids a-milking, nine ladies dancing, 10 lords a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming?

So, as I see it, gifts one through eight could be useful, in a rural setting. And with all the folks dancing and the leaping, I can see how the pipers and drummers would add to the festivities. But after Christmas do these people become the responsibility of the singer and the true love? All these people will need to be housed, fed, and clothed, or is this just a seasonal gig? Do they move on to wherever they are performing on New Year’s Eve? I wonder…

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The residential Christmas decorations Maderans are sharing make me smile and feel the spirit of the holidays. Recreations of the Nativity scene mixed in with Santa, his elves and even Dr. Suess’s Grinch add colorful joy to the neighborhood. Our fellow citizens show a lot of creativity and ingenuity in decorating their homes.

When we lived in Parkwood, we had a neighbor who decorated a camper shell that was balanced on sawhorses in his driveway. He had a single string of lights on it, nothing elaborate, but he was sharing his Christmas spirit with our neighborhood.

I am grateful for the pieces of holiday cheer sprinkled throughout Madera. Thank you, friends, for all your efforts and the joy you provide.

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As children, our Christmas wishes were for games to play or bikes to ride. We Baby Boomers are all now eligible to join AARP even if they haven’t quite reached retirement age. For many of us, the greatest Christmas gift would be good health for ourselves and our loved ones.

The people with which we share the planet is what is known as the Iroquois Seven Generations. According to UC Berkley, we are known as the Greatest Generation (born 1901-1927) the Silent Generation (1928-1945) Baby Boomers (1946-1964) Generation X (1965-1980) Millennials (1981-1995) Generation Z (1996-2010) and Generation Alpha (2011-2025.)

According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary the Iroquois members of a former confederacy of six Native American peoples, the Mohawks, Oneida, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Tuscarora. They live primarily in upstate New York and southeastern Canada.

As we lose our Greatest Generation the youngest of which is now 94, the Silent Generation’s and even many of us Baby Boomers are making way for those from Gen X through the Millennials coming into power.

Also, according to the university when the members of the Greatest Generation were born, life expectancy for a man was 46.3 years, with women living a little longer, to age 48.3 years.

In 100 years, the life expectancy has risen by at least two decades. Modern medicine has been able to increase mankind’s life in many cases more than 20 plus years. If the quality of life could likewise be extended it would make for a far better system.

Cherish one another not just this holiday season but all year long. Was there ever a person on their deathbed who said “Oh if I could have just worked longer hours?”

Long days and pleasant nights, have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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