I never really got into the “Christmas spirit” this year. I think it may be because Christmas changed for me two years ago when, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4, my dad was dying and baby Margaret was in the hospital. Some very bad memories associated with the Christmas season as a result of that.
I also think it was because, in deepening my faith this past year, I came to believe that the stories of the New Testament are as metaphorical (aka not factual) as I believe are the stories of the Old Testament. I have come to believe that the stories in the Bible have important messages to tell us about God, our relationship with Him, and probably most importantly, how He wants us to treat each other, but that they didn’t happen exactly the way they’re told in the Bible. (I realize that many people would not view this as a “deepening” of faith, and I respect that, but I’m really, really, really not interested in debating religion, so please just keep it to yourself and allow me to believe what I believe, regardless of how wrong you think I am.) Anyway, getting back on track, if you don’t believe that the story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection happened the way the Bible says, it sort of makes you think that Christmas is a lot of hoopla about not much. So that may have something to do with it as well.
That said, I had a wonderful holiday season, with many joyful moments. (I also got some sleep.) I went into it with low expectations, and my expectations were exceeded.
Here is a partial list of the things I’m grateful for from this holiday season:
1. No one got the stomach flu (or any other illness, for that matter).
2. We made it to PA and back with no cancelled flights, no significant delays and no lost baggage.
3. My sister-in-law, Leta Jo, got up with our kids every morning that we were there, and let us sleep in.
4. My mom and my brother Phil are moving into a cute house close to Shamokin, and they are both SO happy.
5. My whole family (well, minus Dad, of course) was able to be together last weekend.
6. Carolyn and I were able to sing with Phil.
7. I went to hear the Chicago Symphony “Tribute to Vienna” concert with my friend Geraldine on Sunday, so I actually got some “cultcha” over the holiday.
8. Penn State didn’t get totally humiliated in the Rose Bowl (although they did lose.)
9. I got to eat Coney Islands in Shamokin, and pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day.
10. I was actually awake at midnight to ring in the New Year.
11. On our trip to PA, Tim and I didn’t fight, Tim and Emma didn’t fight, and Emma and I didn’t fight. David and Margaret fought, but that’s pretty much to be expected. (“He pinched me!” “Well, she touched my coat!” Ad infinitum.)
12. The snow finally melted, so it’s possible to walk around without breaking an ankle. (Somewhere along the line, this has become one of my biggest fears.)
13. Lessons and Carols at St. Christophers.
14. The Epiphany pageant at St. Christophers.
15. Time spent with close friends.
16. The love and joy and laughter we gave and received. Which is what Christmas is really all about.
On to 2009!