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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Monday, December 5, 2011

such a strange way...

No updates here, no wit to be shared, probably nothing too funny-- just some thoughts today.  So if that's not up your alley, feel free to stroll along somewhere else...  but in the abundance of free time we all have, if you'd like to just read some thoughts...this is the place, perhaps, for you.

I have an issue with Christmas.  I wanted to type "I hate Christmas"...but I won't, because that just sounds crass.  But I do have issue with Christmas-- it becomes overwhelming-- and not just for me, I hear it from friends and family, even when/if they don't know they are saying it.  The "responsibility" of making sure everyone has a gift, and spending "x" amount, etc etc...It just becomes nauseating.  From a gift giving standpoint, I think we should always try to give something personal- I don't mean handmade/homemade, although I LOVE giving gifts like that-- because you can put love into and the person knows you thought specifically of them when you made it, even if the item isn't something they "asked' for...but I mean even store-bought's easy to just grab something off the shelf and check that person off your list...but where's the fun in THAT?  I think gifts should be personal-- even those from the mall.  If you know someone loves this book, or this artist, or this color, or whatever...that's the way we should shop....not just via checklist for each person "Oh i found this for sally, and this for joe, and this for that lady I don't even know but I have to go to her Christmas party..." Sickening.  I even said last night to my husband, "I'd rather get so and so NOTHING for Christmas than just get them something random that I don't even know if they'll like."  Scrooge, I know.  Anyway, it just becomes stressful.  And let's face it, with two young kiddos, life is stressful enough. I don't need that extra garbage.  None of us do.  Don't worry, close friends, won't be getting lumps of coal from the Carys this year...we took care of you...but we tried to make sure we got you something you'd love, or we know you'd use, or we know you'll appreciate, or something you could use but might not ever buy yourself.  All of that being said, that isn't even the point of my post.  But I will sum that part of it up with-- I love giving gifts.  I love it.  I love making something for someone I love, and wrapping it, and giving it-- I always hope they like it, but that isn't even the part I love most-- I like the giving of it...I want the gift to bring them joy, but just being able to give something as a way of letting that person know that we love them, I LOVE that.  Love it.  With that disclaimer offered, I move on...

Knowing that I have nothing against gift giving in general (or receiving, for that matter), I hope you can read the rest of this without thinking me a Scrooge.

What if we didn't buy gifts?  Or at least didn't buy as many gifts?  I mean, I like getting gifts, but I wouldn't be sad if someone did NOT get me a gift.  Especially if they did something else with that money. What if we took the money we spent on Christmas gifts every year, and not saved it for ourselves or a future purchase or whatever, but we spent it elsewhere, on a need-- like water, food, vaccinations, clothing, housing for destitute nations and communities?  Obviously, I'm not the genius behind this thought process; I'm often too selfish to even think like this.  But to me, that is just so much more....lasting.  I'm spending the money ANYWAY, why not do something for someone in NEED?  We scaled back this year and did some of that, but truly, at least within our own family of four, I think I would love to scale back even more and more as the years go on.  Because the joy is in the giving- whether I'm giving to my kids, my mom, my sister in law, whoever-- that's joyful to me.  And I want to TEACH my kids that-- I'm not saying they should receive nothing, I'm just saying maybe receiving only one thing isn't ridiculous.  They're getting gifts from other family members anyway, just like we love giving gifts to our other family members.  Why not??

We live in such a "more is more" culture...and as I told a friend even just today, some days, I'd like to just be Amish.  Seriously.  Full out Amish.  I know it's difficult work (not from experience, obviously), and I know most of our luxuries would be non-existent...but I really do think sometimes life would be richer if it were simpler.  Honestly.

Consider this:  ' The underdeveloped societies suffer from one set of diseases:  tuberculosis, malnutrition, pneumonia, parasites, typhoid, cholera, typhus, etc.  Affluent America has virtually invented a whole new set of diseases:  obesity, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, venereal disease, cirrhosis of the liver, drug addiction, alcoholism....In saving ourselves we have nearly lost ourselves.'--Ralph Winter quote, taken from excerpt in Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Sea, Greg Holder

wowza.  Just some thoughts.

Along similar lines, in the true spirit of Christmas, I was thinking on something I read today.   I just began reading through the Youversion reading plan "Rediscovering the Christmas Season" this month.  I started a few days late in the reading plan, but I'm glad I started it--  day one is awesome.  Luke 2:21-40 is good stuff.  This is what I thought about, amongst other things, while/after reading it...

Jesus was born, a baby in this world.  When he was taken to the temple to be presented to the Lord, Simeon held him and said to the Lord  " eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people..."  He also told Mary, "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too."  I imagine a mother, how much anguish Mary must have endured as Jesus grew up and was crucified.  The passage goes on to note Anna, a widow after only 7 years of marriage, at this point 84 yrs old and living in the temple, worshiping day and night.  She came up Simeon, Mary, and Joseph and thanked God and "spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jersualem."

Imagine.  This baby has been born, only a few days prior.  And sure, some people probably just thought he was a regular ol' baby.   But some people knew.  The ones who had heard the good news that the Savior had been born....The one who would redeem them from their sins, the one who would be their Salvation...some of them got to see him-- in the form of this little tiny baby, destined for greatness.  Imagine!  Of course we all know that children will grow up to do...things.  Hopefully great things.  We see our kids and we know that one day they will be something, maybe even something incredible!  But with Jesus, they KNEW.  He.was.the.Messiah.  Imaaaaaagine.  For me, it is somewhat breathtaking.  Simeon holds this baby, and he knows.  He is holding what has been promised for so long!  God has sent the Savior to the world...Simeon knows Jesus will be persecuted, and in His pain, his mother will also have great anguish.  Anna, who has lived 84 years to that point-- by our standards, elderly-- sets her old eyes on the Messiah.  In baby form.  And she knows.  She is seeing in the flesh what God has promised...our Deliverer.

I can't fathom how awesome that must have been.  So I will leave you with that.

...."for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people,"

Way to go, God.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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