Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas reflection

It's Christmas Eve afternoon. The ertesuppe is ready for my supper tonight after the annual Christmas Eve service, which, thankfully, is being conducted by a super-team of worship leaders and not me. I offered to conduct tomorrow morning's service and I'm looking forward to it.

It feels important to have a service tomorrow, Sunday, because that's what we do. Who knows who might need a place to be on Christmas Sunday morning? I certainly need a place to be tomorrow morning. Christmas can be a lonely time for people, especially if they are single or far from family (I'm in both categories), and we need to be available for them (and for me!).

So I knew I'd be meeting my own needs by doing Christmas Sunday morning. And those needs included a nice holiday meal. So, with the help of a few other folks, we are going to roll out a bit of a feed. I've roasted a juicy turkey breast and a small ham, found cranberry sauce, bread, and other accoutrements, and have lugged it all over to the church refrigerator.

Our service tomorrow will be a Sharing Service. That is, I have invited folks to come casual (including pajamas for children, if that's easier), bring stories of winter holidays to share, plus something to contribute to the potluck, and we'll choose songs on the spur of the moment. We'll sit in the round, not rows, and look into each others' faces. I won't be offering a homily but will have a few stories of my own to contribute if the need arises.

I hope we'll talk together instead of my blathering on. I hope the kids will bring a new toy or two and their own impressions of the holidays. I hope our Jewish members will come, and our Muslim and Christian and atheist and agnostic members. I hope it isn't ALL about Christmas but that we look at this season through a larger lens, of welcoming the light, sharing what we have, giving gifts of kindness and affection instead of focusing on material gifts.

I've often had a hard time with Christmas because of its commercialism, the frenetic quest to do everything perfectly, the focus on one religious holy day instead of acknowledging the holy days of other faiths. I think the folks who whine their "War on Christmas" laments are stupid for their refusal to understand this immutable fact. It's not just Christmas this time of year----it's Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Solstice and Divali. And Christmas is artificially placed at this time of year----likely because of the pagan celebration of the solstice. Jesus was probably born in the springtime.

So there. And, in case you wondered, "ertesuppe" is Norwegian for split pea soup, a Ketcham traditional Christmas Eve supper. Then I'll open my one gift (that's a Norwegian custom too) from my friend Sue, unless the FS's gift arrives later this afternoon, listen to some nice music, and go to bed early so I can be up and around in plenty of time for tomorrow's festivities.

Merry Everything, Everyone!

3 comments:

Miss Kitty said...

Ohhhh! This is such a wonderful, loving-kind Christmas post! Thank you so much for putting this up. I really needed it...and didn't know how badly until I read it.

Yes, Merry Everything! I love you, Ms. K, and am so grateful to count you among my friends. (((hugs)))

ms. kitty said...

Thank you, Miss K. I love you too and am so glad you're part of my life!

Joel said...

I think the folks who whine their "War on Christmas" laments are stupid for their refusal to understand this immutable fact. It's not just Christmas this time of year----it's Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Solstice and Divali. And Christmas is artificially placed at this time of year----likely because of the pagan celebration of the solstice. Jesus was probably born in the springtime.

I'm an unapologetic Christmas celebrator, and I get tired of the "war on Christmas" hype every year too. Not only are there multiple holidays this time of year, but really, why must Christmas be a shibboleth? "Happy holidays" is also an expression of good wishes.

However, as for the supposed pagan origins of Christmas, you might find this interesting: http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v

It actually makes a great deal more sense, as the early Christians were very anxious not to imitate their pagan neighbors. I hadn't known about the conception-death dating convention before.

Thank you for the gift for the kids. We're going to hit the sales tomorrow and we'll send photos. :