Merry (Rainy and Blustery) Christmas

I joked all week at the weather report that God must be really pissed about Christmas this year….they called for a NASTYNASTY rainy and blustery day on Christmas day, bookended by beautiful days.  So weird.  But, looking out the window right now, they were totally right…it’s pouring and windy and gross and it sounds very tornadic.  They are even calling for thunderstorms this afternoon.  So, maybe God’s finally had enough of our consumerism and desire for huge, showy productions and displays that we seem to think will absolve us of the fact that we spend the rest of the year pretending like He doesn’t exist.  I know, that’s a downer, but I got to thinking…every time I hear someone say “remember the reason for the season” I get a little irritated.  If “He” was the real reason for the season, there wouldn’t be all of this crap.  There would be contemplation, reflection, prayer, thanksgiving, and outreach…not crowded stores full of people muscling each other out of the way to get the last “Zhu Zhu” Hamster thing or whatever the hell it’s called.  There wouldn’t be having to make sure that the Christmas cards are better than everyone else’s were last year.  There wouldn’t be the five million commitments and the “you have to bring a fifteen dollar gift to the party…and it better be something that people will actually want.” 

There would be feet to the pavement.  There would be feeding the poor.  There would be donating to animal shelters.  There would be homeless animal adoptions.  There would be giving gifts, real gifts, to people in need.  There would be loving your neighbor.  There would be time spent together, not in “sanctioned, structured events,” but in simple gatherings to eat together and share the year’s joys…and maybe even sorrows.

This year, we cut back on commitments, and we are giving handmade gifts (with two exceptions which I can’t blog about yet).  I have to be honest, it’s liberating to let go of the “trappings” of the season…I don’t know that our focus has been perfect, in fact, probably far from it, but it’s easier to focus on the “reason” when there are fewer distractions vying for attention.

Before next Chrismas, make a list of what you normally do each year.  Then, take a long, hard look at it and think about whether or not it is consistent with your faith, with why you celebrate.  If it’s not, change it until it is, or try to cut it out entirely.  It doesn’t have to mean a boring and uneventful holiday.  And, it may just give you new focus and meaning when you tell someone, “Merry Christmas.”

God bless us, everyone.

Return of the Green Monster!

Yes, this past week, I experienced the return of the Green Monster!!  I’d shied away from making them since September when I had my kidney stone.  I read everything I could about foods that caused kidney stones, and spinach was one of the offenders.  Since I’d been putting about four cups a day in my GMs, I decided to stay away from it altogether for a while.  I only put about 1/2 cup in the one I made, though.  It was spinach, pineapple, soy milk, 1 frozen banana, and a packet of Amazing Grass green superfood (original flavor).  I definitely felt better, I can tell you that!

Today, we’re relaxing.  I need to watch the movie version of Everything is Illuminated for school, so I’ll do that.  The book was much better than I thought it would be; the cover has a comment that compares it to A Clockwork Orange in the use of language…I would tend to agree.  It takes a couple of chapters to get used to Alex (the narrator’s) use of the English language (or misuse…hehe).

Are these not completely adorable??  It’s a perfect idea for those of you who have decided to get off the “gift train” and free yourself from the endless consumerism that is the holiday season.  Why not give homemade gifting a try?  Start small this year…maybe just one or two gifts.  It’s well worth it, I can assure you.

Our culture has things so out of whack these days…they don’t appreciate the work and thought that goes into handmade gifts.  They want something shiny, new, expensive….something that was made in China and shipped overseas…some cheap, commoditized thing. 

I don’t think that I ever used to be that way, but I can tell you that I have a much deeper understanding of the disappointment of having your gift looked at like it’s cheap when you’ve spent tens of hours knitting it, ripping it, making sure that it looks perfect.  It’s a labor of love.

Anyway…enough bitching about society;)…bitching isn’t going to change anything (but sometimes it helps deal, I guess).  I’m so excited that I have almost all of next week off:)…I have to go to work Monday, but I’m off the WHOLE rest of the week.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday…I’m not entirely sure why.  I think that it’s because it’s always so much more low-key than Christmas…no gifts to worry about, no yelling kids, no loudness, just good friends, good food (good vegetarian food for me this year) and time spent reflecting on how much we have to be thankful for.

I’m excited that Shannon’s coming over tonight for a knit night!!  We’ve both got work to do on Christmas gifts, and it’s just been a while since we’ve had time to sit back and chill and chat.  It’s really going to suck for James to be gone this Christmas.  I’ve never had the war strike so close to home, to actually take one of my friends away…it’s a weird feeling.  But, we’re all going to take a LONG vacation together when he gets back.

Ok…enough rambling.  We’re watching The Unit and drinking coffee.  What a beautiful day!!