“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.” Around my house whenever anyone starts talking about Christmas or asks me what I want for Christmas or is getting a little cranked up about Christmas, one of us (okay usually me) starts singing that song. I don’t sing it just to be obnoxious, although I admit it may seem that way to others. I sing it to remind myself that Christmas is not a time to get all stressed out about what I think needs to be done or what I think others should be doing or what I want to receive. The lyrics are from an old English nursery rhyme. The point of the rhyme was to help children understand that when Christmas was coming, it was time to think about what they could give to others. It was a time to learn about giving. The rhyme goes on to say, “If you haven’t got a whole penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you.” The goal was to teach children that even if you did not have a penny to your name you could still give away a blessing.
What a great lesson for all of God’s children. We often get so worried about “what we will eat and what we will drink,” especially at Christmas time, that we forget what we already have. We want to get the meal right, we want to get the tree right, we want the perfect present, we want perfect health, we want, we want, we want…But as the nursery rhyme reminds me, Christmas is not about what we want; Christmas is about what we already have. We have the ability to offer a blessing to another, we have the ability to offer a song of praise, we have the ability to pray for our friends, we have the ability to show love to our family and we have the ability to stop the foolishness and remember that ‘Christmas is coming’ is a promise of great tidings of comfort and joy.