Tag Archive | religion

Silently, the wondrous gift is given

Often with the stress of Christmas, the pressures of getting it all done, I forget what’s important. I know, I’ve probably griped about Christmas more than raved about it. And no, I’m not a Grinch. I just like complaining. (Ask James and see Pet Peeves) But really, remembering what’s important, is truly the reason for the season.  This sounds so cliche, I know. Blah, blah, blah the meaning of Christmas is more than presents. I get it. When disappointment sets in I remember this- I have my presents already.

They are, my two incredible children and my extremely tolerant, devoted husband.

The other day I dropped the kids off at the library entrance while I went to park the car. I watched them walk hand in hand inside the building, chatting kindly to each other. I practically burst into tears at the sight of this. For multiple reasons- first, they weren’t punching each other; second, they are the most incredible beings that have walked this planet. Yes, I’m biased.

Now for my husband:

When I was in college, before I met James, I used to pray every day for God to send me a husband. Does that sound a little too Doris Day for you? I know. But it’s true. So single ladies out there, light your candles and say your prayers and you too will get hitched to a swell guy like I did. Okay, just kidding. This isn’t a 1950’s article on how to land a husband.

This is my tome of gratitude. My testimony to all that is good in my life. And how I must not forget how much I waited and wanted it, and now I have it. MY family. I knew that one day, my prayers would be answered. That I would have the person in my life to share my tomorrows, my todays, my children, my everything.  It was my faith that told me that.

I get all weepy when I listen to my Sarah Maclachlan’s Christmas CD. I’ll be in the car by myself, singing along and always tear up with Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

If you’re a Christian, this is the part of Christmas you accept. If you’re not a Christian, then this is the part of Christmas you scratch your head at, or maybe just dismiss altogether. And I know my previous post on Christmas and the Winter Solstice makes this post seem like a paradox, or just plain hypocrisy since I explained the Romans were all about their toga party and the Puritans banned the whole thing. And I wrote that folks should celebrate how they want. I still believe that is true. But I am a Christian, and my reason for celebrating Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

I know that there’s a lot of cynics when it comes to Christmas. Back in the 60s even Charlie Brown was jaded by the whole true meaning of Christmas. This was 50 years ago! We haven’t improved at all since then.

So, I still cling to the belief that Christmas is silver bells, Jimmy Stewart, the Virgin Mary AND that little baby, lowly in a manger. It may be naive of me, childish, or just completely based on that thing called, FAITH.

So every Christmas Eve that I have the privilege of sitting under my tree, candles lit, children tucked in, presents under the tree, James sitting in the other room on his laptop (come on, what did you expect?) and the feeling that I get to do this all over again, my heart is truly full.  Thank you baby Jesus.

Toga, Toga, Toga

Well, that was weird. I’m watching the History channel; clearly I must have been confused and had it on by accident instead of the E! channel. It was strange since Kim Kardashian didn’t show up anywhere.

Anyway, this show on the origins of Christmas informed me that nobody knows what day Jesus was born on, the Romans only started celebrating His birthday in the 4th century, and they just lumped it in with their big end of year, winter solstice party that everyone wore their nicest toga to. WHAAT?? Oh that’s just marvelous. Instead of ugly Christmas sweaters, we should be wearing togas.  Why has this not been made clear all these years?

Then later on, the  medieval Christmas was all about rowdy groups going door to door singing Christmas hymns and getting a dip out of the household jug of ale. This would go bad if you didn’t give them a swig of whatever libation and they would threaten to throw rocks at your house or shank you the next day in the village square or something. So they just got drunker and drunker as they went through town. But at least they were singing church songs.

And THEN, the pilgrims got all pissed that Christmas was a Catholic invented holiday because they were Protestant, so they banned it all together. They didn’t want any of that drinking and singing stuff and I think the Roman’s Winter Solstice party to them seemed like a party at the Playboy Mansion so they put the kibosh on the whole holiday. Good grief.

Now I’m all confused.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and say, that those that want to celebrate in whatever way they will, seems to go along perfectly with history.

The importance of celebrating the Winter Solstice in those days is because folks didn’t have frequent flyer miles or points to redeem for a trip to Hawaii in January. Drinking, feasting, lighting candles were pretty much all that got them through the dark days of December. Hmm, sounds kind of familiar.

We can put whatever importance on this day we want to. If it’s Jesus’ birthday you celebrate, Hallelujah.  If it’s secular and pagan traditions, go for it. Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Nothing wrong with some revelry, feasting and prayerful reflection, yes? All my non-Christian, Agnostic, Atheist friends are like, “Yeah, Rebecca come to the dark side with us!” and my Christian, conservative, religious friends are like, “Rebecca, Christmas is about Jesus and that is all.” And for me Christmas is still about Jesus. But, it’s interesting to hear where all this stuff got jumbled together. Let’s all be merry together.

So now I’m just thinking of how to bring the toga back for my next Christmas party, and if tights go with it because it does get chilly here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice and thank goodness those uptight pilgrims didn’t ruin the party for the rest of us.