Why, hello, there.
I french braided my hair today and it looks funny. French braids really only work in twos, I think. Skunk-style, straight down the back of my head, makes me look odd. Not even a headband can really help. Oh well. No matter. No one's going to see me today, anyway.
I wanted to write a Christmas post. It was going to have a list of all the best Christmas things. Movies, books, traditions. But, seeing as how Joshua and I spent 40% of our holiday traveling, 10% of the time sleeping, and the other 50% seeing our families, it all got away from me.
So, here's the abbreviated version:
1. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
2. It's a Wonderful Life.
3. Oranges and walnuts on Christmas morning.
4. Elf (the movie, and the one that sits in the Christmas tree).
6. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."
7. Meaningful gifts that don't require lots of money.
That's something I definitely learned this Christmas season. Money is the root of all evil. Feeling like you have to get everyone on your list something PERFECT and EXPENSIVE is an extension of it. My favorite two gifts of Christmas 2010 were from my mother and my mother-in-law. The former gave me a Peanuts block calendar for my eventual desk (I've been in love with Snoopy ever since I played him in the eighth grade), and the latter, a beautiful notebook with a girl wearing fairy wings on the cover. Both were incredibly simple gifts, but they meant the world to me because they showed that the gift-givers truly understood things about me. That's all I need. [That's also not to say that we don't appreciate the bigger things, too. It's just that the simple gifts tug at my heart the most.] Gifts are accessories to love, not proof of love. Bigger and better gifts don't equal bigger and better love. If anything, they boil down to emptier and less secure love. Like, I'm not sure you know how I feel about you, so I'm going to give you a diamond-studded BMW to prove something. Or whatever. Why don't you just have an honest relationship with that person? I am so blessed to have honest relationships with my family.
Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. For now. It makes me think A LOT about what I want Christmas to be like for my own children. Will we even bother with Santa Claus? Author Kiersten White wrote this hysterical post about him. I'm grateful that when I was a kid, my parents and grandparents told me that Santa was symbolic of the spirit of generosity. That way, when I figured out that he wasn't actually squeezing down the chimney every year, I didn't get my feelings hurt or feel like I'd been lied to. I can't explain it. I know that "Santa," as we project him, is a commercial ploy masquerading as whimsy. But the REAL spirit of Christmas? Of tradition and family and celebrating the gift of Christ? Not to sound pagan, but these are the things that encapsulate the "spirit of generosity" I was raised to identify with Santa. The good things. I wish we didn't call him "Santa," though. I prefer St. Nick or Father Christmas, greatly.
I hate the commercial(s) where Santa/the elves are frantically putting together last-minute gifts. I don't even think I need to explain why.
So, what's wrong with this world? I don't think I ever want to tell my kids that Santa is "real," or that the Wise Men were there the night Jesus was born, or that December 25th was his actual birthday--because none of those things are true! I was SHOCKED to find out that Jesus was born in the spring, and that the three Wise Men didn't get to Jesus until he was a toddler. These things upset me more than the truth about Santa Claus! I think it's important, as a Christian, to KNOW the history behind the holiday, to KNOW how it came to be held on December 25th, and to be okay with it. I do definitely believe that it was all in the sovereignty of God that it ended up where it is, but it would be foolish and dangerous to put more faith in the traditions of the holiday than the purpose of the holiday.
So, I guess I just wrote a Christmas post. An everything-that's-wrong-with-Christmas post. Believe me, I could go on. But I'll spare you. Also, this is my only day off before the new year, so it's high time I moved onto something else. I have every intention of posting again before 2011, but who knows if that will really happen?
To everyone going to the New Year's retreat at Loucon, I love you and I will miss you unbelievably. But Loucon will still be there in 2011, and I will still be me in 2011, and even though I absolutely treasure ringing in the new year there, I know it's okay to let go and give you all a chance to treasure it, now, too.
When did I get so old?