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Friday, June 14, 2024 - 09:01 PM


First Published in 1994


Reflections On The America That Once Was
The Spirit of Christmas Past. How we long to reclaim it today!

Old Ebenezer Scrooge would have loved the ACLU (‘Anti-Christian Liberties Union’) in his really bad days when he was the “Grinch” who hated Christmas.  At this time of year, especially, the communist-oriented ACLU is burning the midnight oil in its unceasing struggle to “protect” us from reminders of just Who is “the reason for the season”.  Columnist Cal Thomas once quipped, The ACLU and other groups are performing their annual ritual of keeping the public square (including the ‘public’ schools) clean of any mention of Jesus Christ, unless that mention is intended as a curse word.  In such a case, the ACLU will leap to the defense.”  It wasn’t always this way in America.  Not by a long shot. But the curse of Marxist mischief and leftist gov-think has changed our nation slowly into one wherein the Word of God is only barely tolerated!  For how much longer is anyone’s guess.

When I was growing up in the America that once was, way back in the “ancient” times of the late 1930’s and all of the 1940’s, our country was blessed with relative normalcy, even though a world war, so loved by our enemies in “The New World Order” even then, was in progress for much of that time.  In that long ago but fondly remembered America that once was, a time that has just about faded away, Christmas meant something special to Christians and non-Christians alike, and that special something was out in the open for all to appreciate.  In those halcyon days of fading memory both real Christians and the rest of the population respected the celebration of the birth of the Savior, the Prince of Peace.  Merchants didn’t put out Christmas decorations until a few weeks before Christmas.  Even non-Christians tried to live by the thoughts of Jesus most of the time (He was a great “inspirational teacher”, you  know), and wonder of wonders—society did not implode over nativity scenes on the grounds of the local courthouse or fire station, or because of prayers recited in school (even, of course, the prayer that “Christmas”—not “winter holidays”—would soon be here). 

In the America that once was, non-Christians didn’t run around our streets seeking Christians to molest, ridicule, harass, and beat up. Churches and synagogues and businesses run by their devotees were not torched or deliberately vandalized as they are today, to our shame.  Criminals, from shop lifters to murderers got their day in court most of the time, and paid the price for their unlawful behavior.  Even worse, in those primitive days in the America that once was, when plaques of the 10 Commandments were on the walls in many schoolrooms, the students actually read them.  Judges in those days seemed to encourage this in the hope that those students would obey those Commandments and make our society a better place.  Where was the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when we needed it to rescue impressionable youth from the “scourge” of being forced to read and perhaps even pattern their lives on those 10 Commandments?

There was a time in pre-colonial America when it was forbidden to celebrate Christmas at all.  The Pilgrims did not, for they felt that celebrating it had become a non-spiritual time of merriment and drunkenness in England and Holland (where they lived from 1608 to 1620), just like in today’s America.  Since it was not a Scriptural requirement, and since no one knew just when Jesus was really born, why celebrate at all, they opined?  So they, and many other early colonists of the 1600’s and 1700’s, including the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, didn’t. In fact, they passed laws against such celebrations. Violators who were caught celebrating Christmas or decorating their homes were fined by the local authorities. I hope that the ACLU doesn’t decide to look into trying to get that old legislation resurrected, but anything is possible with that scurvy bunch of anti-Christians, anti-Conservatives, and anti-Americans.  Of course, our anti-Christian and anti-American “main stream media” have done a credible job of attacking Christians and all things “Traditional Americana” over the years from my youth to the present.  I hope that God will forgive them for all the evil they have perpetrated, but I won’t!

My earliest memory of Christmas in the America that once was was the Christmas of 1940 (I think—although it might have been the Christmas Eve of 1941).  Only my father’s adoptive mother, my step-grandmother Elizabeth, who lived with us, was a Christian.  I remember that a few days before that long-ago Christmas Eve some members of her church came to our front door on a snowy, cold night and sang a few carols for her, and all of us.  I remember Christmas songs (not usually heard in those days until a week or two before Christmas) sung or played on “The Grand Old Opry” station that my father listened to occasionally.  But on that Christmas Eve my grandmother, Elizabeth, and my mom, Ann, whisked me up to bed really early because “Santa” would soon be at our house.  Sure enough, as I struggled valiantly to stay awake, I heard the “sleigh bells” of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer.  They must be landing on the roof, I thought.  We had no fireplace or chimney, but a 4-or 5-year-old doesn’t believe in rocking the boat by asking stupid questions about how Santa would get into our house.  Somehow he would.  Well, the next morning, our Christmas tree would have lots of presents under it, even in those end-of-the-depression era days when my father hadn’t worked for years at a real job. 

Yes, “Santa”, not Jesus, was an important part of our Christmases in that America that once was, the only part for many years, since my father never had any religious beliefs—he didn’t even believe in atheism—and didn’t encourage any religious discussion between me and my grandmother (although she did try from time to time until she passed away in 1949).  My early Christmases were all about getting presents, eating my grandmother’s totally fabulous English plum pudding with white sauce (that I can still taste), and gorging on my mother’s equally fabulous roast turkey and dressing.  If Christmas was about anything else in those halcyon days, it didn’t register in my youthful brain.

If you have ever watched that classic Christmas film, The Christmas Story, you’ll know exactly how it was when I was a kid growing up in the late 1930’s and 1940’s.  Exactly! That wonderful movie was even filmed partly in Cleveland, Ohio, my hometown.  I got my first “Red Ryder” BB gun when I was around nine or ten, and yes—my mom worried that “I would shoot my eye out”.  But I didn’t.  (A few windows and light bulbs, yes, but eyes, no.)  Like “Ralphie” in the movie, many Christmases  my Mom took me to Woolworth’s 5 & 10 cent store on the public square for one of their fantastic hamburgers and chips (not French fries, and we never used cheese on a burger in those days), and afterwards, just like Ralphie, I stood in front of the big windows of Higbees Department store on that same public square in downtown Cleveland during the 1940’s, drooling over toys that I would never have (although I had a pretty extensive American Flyer electric train layout in our basement). And yes, I DID have a “Little Orphan Annie” decoder to learn what she was sending to me (I can’t recall any of her messages),  and yes, I did “drink my Ovaltine” sometimes, although I always preferred hot chocolate.  I’ll bet that some of you also shared those great experiences, back in the America that once was.  Those of you who didn’t will never know what you missed by being born too late!  I’m truly sorry about that.

Most of us have fond memories of Christmases past in the America that once was.   It is pleasant to think on the “old days” (whenever they were for each one of us) when life was more family centered and much less hectic.  People in my parents’ day had lived through the ‘not-so-great’ Depression and they had survived World War 11, so they knew something of hardships and uncertainties and government controls over their lives.  They weren’t perfect people nor were they totally idyllic times, but many people in those ‘good old days’—in the America that once was-- had something that is in short supply today—FAITH in the Rock of Christ, the expectation that the free enterprise system would allow them to provide a better future for their kids than they had experienced, and the certainty that things would always continue the way they had, and surely would even get better. 

People in those days—in the America that once was--had survived the ravages of the purposely induced (by the unconstitutional “Federal Reserve Banking system”) decade-long depression, they had survived the fascist/socialist laws and executive orders of the despicable anti-Constitutionalist President Franklin Roosevelt and his welcoming of communists and communist influence (and the “globalist” influence of the Council On Foreign Relations, of which he was a long-time member) into his administration as he, and they, prescribed their “New Deal” for Americans (which only served to prolong the “depression” and make our economic suffering much worse).  And, of course, they had survived years of the carnage of WW11, with its shortages and rationings and grieving families, both in England and in the States.  People in those days were much tougher than people today.  They had to be in order to survive.  I seriously doubt that most people today have that same degree of “toughness” in order to survive the economic and social “challenges” that appear to be headed our way.  I hope I’m wrong

Well, things sure have changed since I was a kid in that America that once was, and probably since you were a kid, also.  But one thing never has changed, nor ever will—our Savior’s love for us as promised in His Word, which also never changes.  You’ll recall that in his famous book, A Christmas Carol (1843), Charles Dickens even had old Scrooge change at the end.  It would have been more to the point if Dickens had written that Scrooge had become a true Christian, but that probably would have offended the tender sensibilities of some “perpetually offended” moonbats even in pre-ACLU  Victorian times.  But the assumption of those readers was that old Scrooge had become a Christian.  As it is, we can only have a “hope”—we can only conjecture in our thoughts--- that Scrooge became a Christian, since it was said that he “knew how to keep Christmas well”.  May it be said of us, also, that in our time on earth we knew how to keep Christmas truly well by honoring our LORD with gifts of our time and money, and our love and obedience to His Word, and not just enriching our earthly masters (the banks and credit card companies).  Tiny Tim said it well:  “God bless us, every one.”  Indeed.  Merry Christmas!



A native of Cleveland, Ohio W. H. (Bill) Lamb was graduated from Cleveland State University (Ohio) in 1960, and relocated to South Carolina in 1964.  For many years he was an Industrial Engineer, Chief Industrial Engineer, and plant manager in the steel, electronics, and apparel industries in Ohio, South Carolina, and Alabama. 

He is a long time student of both American history and ancient Egyptian history, and has long admired the stalwart people who founded the British colonies and pre-dynastic Egypt, two groups that left permanent marks on human civilization.

An avid and long time writer concentrating on political and cultural issues of concern to America’s Christian Patriot community, he was published in the Lancaster, S.C. “News” during the mid-to-late 1960’s and in Greenville’s “The Times Examiner” since 1999.   The late Christian Patriot, Col. Bobby Dill, was his first editor for The Times Examiner, the publication he always refers to as “a great journal of truth”.

Married to Barbara for 65 years, he has two adult kids, five grandkids, and six great grandkids, plus a “feisty and opinionated” 80 lb. Pit Lab named Hayley, who runs the entire house.

A long time member, with Barbara, of the patriotic John Birch Society, he believes that it is the duty of ALL Christians to first, share the love of his Savior, Jesus, with others, and then to be dedicated patriots and do everything possible to both resist the evil of collectivism that is smothering Western Civilization and educate and motivate his fellow Americans in the preservation of our unique Constitutional Republic.