Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre-advent advent....What do you think?

So I know a lot of people at least say that they get annoyed with Christmas stuff going up in October alongside Halloween stuff. But are they really annoyed? Or does the culture of the times get to them and they decide oh maybe I should get this now so I can be more prepared for the season. But why do we do this? I kind of feel that the economy partially drives the way we celebrate our religious holidays and not in a good way. But what is behind all this madness? Is it the sense that we need to make an extra buck? Does that person really another candy cane or body lotion? Does our bathroom door need that red bow on it? Why are we like this?

Maybe I am a little too extremist when I don't want to say that things prior to Christmas are Christmas parties, but insist that they are Advent parties. Because truthfully Christmas doesn't start till the 25th. I actually enjoy doing last minute shopping for things, and not putting my Christmas tree up till the 24th if possible. Unfortunately the commercial aspect of Christmas sometimes doesn't allow me to wait till the 24th to get a tree, and thus I am forced to get it a few days before so that they don't decide to get rid of all their trees. But then I decorate it as late as possible, so that I can really enjoy Christmas as Christmas, instead of advent as Christmas. It's slightly ironic, we do all this partying and decorating for ourselves when Jesus hasn't arrived yet, but then once he does, a day later we as a culture strip everything bare. Maybe this is reflective of what we think of our Savior. I would hope not, but sometimes I am not so optimistic about us as Americans.

Mostly for myself, I think besides the influence of commercialism, I think its a lack of knowledge about Christmas. You think we would get Christmas because it comes every year, and we do so much prep for it, its a bit crazy. But do we really get it? We get the giving thing and the being kind thing and the helping out thing. But really if Christmas is over on the 25th as for most it is in our society, doesn't it become disappointing once the presents are unwrapped and the ham or turkey eaten? What's left? I remember as a kid always hating Christmas day, I for one acted terrible when it came to gifts, but the highlight was always going to Christmas Eve service together and singing Silent Night. And since I knew nothing about an ongoing celebration, I was saddened when the presents were done, because everyone went about their own way afterward. I wish I had known that Christmas extended itself to a season that only begins on the 25th. That I should be excited for at least 12 days. But in our culture no one really knows that there is a time-line, that the gifts didn't come till Epiphany. Is this really important, maybe not to some people. But now that I know I thoroughly enjoy celebrating in a way that Jesus' presence really is celebrated. And to just do stuff prior to Christmas that focuses on us, and maybe a few others, instead of Jesus, instead of really trying to prepare ourselves for his coming doesn't make much sense. So where does the lack of knowledge come from.

I think it comes from the wanting to make things simple view on Christianity. Since, I am a former protestant, I blame my former self and lack of knowledge I had of the correct celebration and since our country has such a Protestant tone to it, this makes total sense. At least half of Protestants do not celebrate advent, and most do not celebrate Christmas past the 25th. Come the Sunday after the 25th of December, no carols are sung, little decoration is left and its all back to what we would call ordinary time in the Catholic church. Oh, Martin Luther, if only knew what the effects of what you were doing in your insanity would be. But if it wasn't Mr. Luther, then it would have been someone else, Henry VIII for example, who decided that their personal beliefs were stronger than that of the church that Jesus left us.

So maybe I care too much. But I like celebrating Advent as advent, as a time to prepare oneself for Jesus, and I like celebrating Christmas as if Jesus really is here and is worth more than just one day of celebration but at least 12. The only decoration I plan to pull out in the next week or actually make, since I usually make it, is an advent calendar. If we acquire a wreath I will put that out too, but right now we don't have one.

What do you think about the way Christmas is celebrated in America?

Friday, November 13, 2009

7 quick takes before I go insane

The insanity part is due to my work situation, but I am going to try to make the best of it. Pray that it gets better and that my advisor is less condescending in his accusations towards me.

1. We moved into the basement of our house. Right now we have a working kitchen, 1.5 baths and a basement to live in. All which are on separate levels, thus it is like living in a very skinny house with everything stacked on top of each other. I feel like I should be in London or New York with the narrowness of my current living space.

2. We have been dewallpapering for the past week, and its a tiring job. I am so thankful for my friend Megan for all her wonderous help. I need to start making her more food to return the favor. Also, this dewallpapering has made my dislike for wallpaper become immensely larger, and my liking of paint become immensely larger as well. Now I just have to pick good colors. I'm a fan of warm colors. What are your favorites?

3. I am enjoying the shorter commute, in 15-20 minutes, if I time it right, I can be at school. It used to be over an hour to get there. Some folks would say I am a crazy kid for the way that I use the public transit stop that is not so good, but I figure if there are more normalish people like me and less shady people going thru there then it will become a less shady area.

4. We had a retreat this past weekend with the Lifeteen teenagers, and it was a lovely one. The best retreat group I have had by far. Everyone wanted to be there and everyone contributed, no one was a grump at all. And as usual I got to laugh a ton at my husband's silly antics. And also be asked a million times if I laughed as much as he did. My response was that usually I have to ask him why he is laughing because it mostly involves some crazy news item or blog he read on the internet, and I am out of the loop till then. Or its, and in that case it is pretty hilarious, but then its extra hilarious to guys I think. Anyway, I felt like I missed out on parts of it, but really I needed to get the sleep and if I didn't get the sleep I would have not been functioning at all during the weekend or after it.

5. Lately, the laziness of people and the apathy they have are really annoying me. Granted I know people have their own lives, but TV does not take precedence over helping out where needed. At least this is true in my lifestyle, but then again, I live with out a TV, so maybe I am biased.

6. I think this weekend, since we are officially living in the city, we will need to check out the local Catholic churches, and I mean churches as is more than one. Within about 5 miles are like 10 churches to choose from, kinda crazy sometimes to think, since I grew up in an area where there were only 2 within a 25 mile radius.

7. So I know most people would yell at me with this, but I am super excited to paint. I got the non toxin emitting paint, which helps me, the pregnant lady out to paint. I am thankful also for Anne coming to help me out in advance tomorrow morning with the painting job. I am just so giddy to paint, seriously its that much fun to me.