3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
I’m taking vacation days to have all of Thanksgiving week off, as I have done so many years before. Formerly, the first part of the week was spent putting up the tree. I always say we are in an uncontrolled free-fall toward Christmas and the year’s end after Thanksgiving.
We haven’t decorated for 6 years now. The last year in my home town there was no celebration for us. We were preparing for our move to Memphis and hopefully a fresh start. We went from 2100 sq. feet to about half that.
That’s been a blessing of sorts. I’ve had no stress putting everything up. I’ve suffered no depression taking everything down. There have been no gifts for at least as long. We simply go to Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day services, have a nice brunch Christmas morning, and spend the rest of the day watching favorite movies and napping. It’s all become very low key, very non-commercial.
My only problem right now is a lifetime of conditioning. I love Christmas music, especially as I gaze into the light-filled tree. I miss our daughters and their anticipation. I miss the traditions of my childhood.
The first Wednesday Advent service was the official beginning of that final countdown to Christmas Day. We never missed a Wednesday Advent service throughout my childhood. Every week I felt more anticipation as another candle on the advent wreath was lit.
In my twenties, my best pal, Rick, and I would spend Christmas Eve attending as many Christmas Eve services as we could get to, ending with a mid-night service that bridged us over midnight to the big day itself! Later that day, I’d go over to his house, pretty much my second home and family, to celebrate a bit with them too.
Now it’s more about surviving the commercialization of the whole thing and the ever-increasing rudeness of people during this season of gifts. Work continues to intrude upon my private life. I’ve spent more time in hotels than my own bed this year.
I have no time for the still-available Advent services. I have no time to hold to some of the traditions and feelings of my childhood. Even if I did, my family doesn’t feel quite the same anymore. Julie is understandably tired, plus works retail. One daughter is still with us, but her health problems keep her lying low too.
My youngest is still in Ohio. She informed us several years ago that she doesn’t believe in all this shit anymore and is an atheist. Now she swears she said she’s agnostic. Two names for two roads going to the same destination, but whatever helps you sleep at night.
I’d like to travel the road of my youth as well as the road of our early marriage. We were all pulling on the oars to the same beat, heading in the same direction. Now, who is or is not working? Who is or is not too tired? Who does or does not have room to put up even small decorations? Maybe I’d like a little bit. Just some sort of nod to my memories, something to soothe them.
Here’s the part where I remind myself to stop circling the drain of my naval, which I’ve figuratively contemplated long enough. Here’s where I get back to what God has to say about all of this. Here’s where I remind myself that I’m allowing the psychotic-like aspects of the season to wreak its havoc between my ears.
Every Gospel has its purpose, it’s intended message of the Gospel framed in its individual way. Luke starts out all about Jesus’ birth with all of the close calls and nefarious schemes of a holiday blockbuster. Luke knows Jesus’ entire story, from Alpha to Omega. He knows getting this part as well as the rest is important.
Should we have started celebrating said birth at all, let alone on a pagan holiday, even if it was the best of intentions? Dunno. I’m thinking God is just as glad we say thank you, regardless of our timing. It might be nice to do it daily, come to think of it.
Is Christmas music OK? I guess that would depend on the song.
Maybe I’ll just contemplate the story all by itself. One blog post at a time.