(i love how happy that third king is, btw)
This time of year always sets me to thinking about what I believe in a spiritual sense because Christmas is so full of Spirit.
I’ve taken many different winding paths on my spiritual journey.
When it comes to the great beyond the right here and right now, I throw up my hands. I came to the realization that it is too big for me to comprehend, so I am not going to try to bother to name it. When I think about God, I kind of just imagine a great big happy loving swirl in the sky, or the sound of the wind through the trees or the feel of sunshine on my face.
I gave up on bowing to the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost a long, time ago.
But I love Jesus.
That’s right. I said Jesus.
I turned my back on Jesus when he was connected with words that were punctuated with the word “acceptance” but really were all about the word “exclusion”.
And I don’t really think that’s very Jesuslike at all.
But I love that little baby Jesus. The one lying in the manger with the promise of hope and love to the world. The one that just solidifies my belief that we are all born good with the capacity to do great things. The one that grew and taught and spread the word about loving each other as we want to be loved. Jesus to me symbolizes what is right with humankind, our capacity for kindness and love.
We are going back to church for Christmas Eve. I have made random visitations to my home church, the church of my youth. My children want to go to church. So we are going. The children’s service. To listen to the story of how the baby Jesus came to be. I love Christmas Eve church, more so the midnight service, with it’s hymns and it’s silence at midnight, the ritual of hearing the liturgy sung, the familiar words, but I have little ones, so we will opt for the earlier version.
It’s strange that it’s some of the words of the Christian faith that ruffle my feathers, but at the same time it is the pattern and repetition of those words that brings me peace. So I am looking forward to sitting there in those same familiar pews. Darkness just beginning to fall on us. Saying those familiar lines, even if I do (hmm, hmm, hmm) through a few of them. The girls listening to the story, literally carrying their piece of the story to the altar, then coming back to settle in between Ed and I.
Because he will be there too. The four of us there in the pew. Which is also familiar and odd at the same time. You see we grew up in that church together. We met for the first time in the parking lot at fourteen and sixteen years old. Snuck in more than a few kisses behind the adult’s backs on youth group trips. Then we both got married through that church, but to other people. Now we will return there together this year, my sixteen-year old boyfriend now somehow transformed into my forty-year old one who lives 2,000 miles away, but comes home for the holidays.
So I’ve made some peace with Jesus, and with church, and with boyfriends who live too far away, because none of them are perfect, but in the end, to me,they all just feel like home.
Christmastime. Every year I say I will be more prepared and less stressed.
There are 70 days…..
In the book I’m reading (and loving) See You In A Hundred Years, they are living life as in the year 1900. The author made a handcarved Huck Finn raft for his son and a carved pair of black walnut chopsticks for his wife. They gave homemade baked and canned goods to their friends and family.
A few years ago I read Bill McKibbon’s Hundred Dollar Holiday. In the spirit of preparation I am thinking of reading it again. Interested to know if anyone else has read this? I’m somehow thinking $100 is not going to make it for me with children, but again, I think we can keep things simple and beautiful this year.