I’m not joking when I say this entry is extremely boring. It’s really just a stream of consciousness brain fart with no real structure or point, just, me writing for the sake of writing, so if I’ve never had reason to warn you before, I have one now.
One thing I hate about college and post college is that I don’t celebrate Christmas. I don’t know if this makes sense. But, up until college, I always had a lot of time to prepare for Christmas. It’s a lot of things. Like, at school, there’d be preparation. At home, we’d get the Christmas tree weeks in advance. At church, we’d prepare Christmas programs and stuff.
But when I came to college that was all gone. School was so busy with finals and such I didn’t even have time to think about Christmas until after I wake up when my flight arrives in Houston. I’m not at home, so no decorations, or tree, or anything like that. The saddest part to me is how we don’t really seem to celebrate Christmas at church.
I mean, we obviously do, but it’s rare that we (KCPC) sing Christmas hymns, and we don’t have a tree anymore, and we don’t have any Christmas programs or anything like that, and it just doesn’t feel Christmasy to me, and to me that’s the biggest loss.
I don’t know, if you know me, you know I’m a sentimental fool, and a sucker for cheesy, sentimental things, and Christmas is dear to my heart. Just, I have a lot of fond memories of Christmas. My family would always get a tree together, and then spend a Saturday afternoon decorating it while a Bing Crosby Christmas record (or the Chipmunks Christmas record) played. The ornaments are sentimental too. For a long time I had this Winnie The Pooh ornament I made in kindergarten, and every year when I took it out, I was reminded of Mrs. Beach’s class. My grandma had made a bunch of homemade ornaments also, so there’s a lot of sentiment wrapped up in that also.
The way we buy Christmas presents in my family is we pretty much all tell each other what we want. There’s not really any surprises. But, we still wrap all the presents and put them under the tree. It’s not for the surprise, it’s just the tradition, you know? Even if we know what it is, there’s something special about opening presents on Christmas morning.
When I was younger, me and my sister would wake up at like 6 or 7 AM. We were pretty insane. In those days, we’d unwarp one present at a time, one person at a time. My mom would hand a gift over for someone to unwrap, they’d unwrap it while everyone else watched, and she’d write down who sent what, I guess for thank you cards or something like that. Moms are good with stuff like that.
Christmas is also a good time for pastors, in terms of getting gifts, and rightly so. I’ve never really talked about my dad being a pastor, but it’s not easy. I used to say to myself that when I grew up, I’d be sure to give my pastors good gifts every year, because really, we need to show our appreciation to our pastors. Uh, starting next year for sure.
In recent years we’ve been getting less gifts, and now my parents have to drag me and my sister out of bed so we can still say we opened presents on Christmas morning instead of the afternoon. I don’t know, but it’s still cool.
Like I said, I’m sentimental, especially around Christmas time, because for me Christmas is just a big wad of memories and emotions wrapped up together. There are little things that aren’t a big deal, but it’s sentimental to me, and I don’t know how it happened, but I find that I treasure it.
And one of those little things I’ve come to treasure is me and my sister coming out into the living room, tired. We’re both wearing pajamas, both wearing glasses, not contacts, and both (well at least me) annoyed that my parents are so cheerful so early in the morning (10 AM. Note – this is 8 AM California time).
Anyway, my sister’s married now so I have no idea what Christmas is going to feel like, like, is she going to come over? It’s just not right that she comes fully proper, you know? She’s supposed to stumble into the living room in her pjs, like me. I’m being overly sentimental. But, you know, it’s just one of those little things that in retrospect, I treasure.
So Christmas is going to be different. I don’t know, especially in recent years, it’s felt like each Christmas has been marking a passage of time, and that makes it even more sentimental for me. Like, the first Christmas in Houston was a very distinct one, just totally different than any Christmas before. As was the first Christmas when I came back from college. A couple years ago, my grandmother didn’t come to our place for Christmas, which also gave it a totally different feel, and to me at least was kind of a sign, just how, our family’s not always going to be together anymore, and it made me sad. And now, my sister’s gone. I guess it’s just because Christmas is when my family all comes together, which is why it’s such a marker of the years to me, but I don’t know, that’s what it’s become.
Anyway, like I was saying, one thing I miss the most is Christmas at church. Our church in Houston has a Christmas service which is nice because it gives me my Christmas hymn fix. But it’s just so little to me. There are some years I’ve gone home without having sung any Christmas hymns at church at all. That just doesn’t seem right to me. Since, the whole country is gearing for Christmas, why aren’t we? I’ve always wanted, for at least one service before everyone leaves, to sing just Christmas hymns the whole time. But, I don’t know, our praise I guess is to hip and modern for that. Our loss.
In years past we used to have a joint FiC, the whole church, last week in December before people leave, and Pastor Dave used to be pretty good about getting us in the Christmas mood and reminding us the reason for the season. Old schoolers remember the Ohms “Alternative Silent Night” incident. But yeah, that’s something I miss.
It’s sad to me, but the world is making the Christmas season more and more politically correct and secular. Many places don’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore. They say “Happy Holidays”. Jieun’s school is super PC, and they’re sure to mention everything, like Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and whatever. Dave Barry made a hilarious comment about it being like a Merry Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Give Gifts to Atheist Kids Day. But anyway, it’s getting really PC.
So much so that I’m surprised when I hear Christmas things in public. Like I was in Bloomingdale’s and I was suprised to hear Hark The Herald Angels Sing playing. I don’t know, that’s kind of sad to me.
I don’t know, I’m just cynical about anything human centered, but I just feel like America’s trying to make Christmas fuzzy and selfless and giving and generous and all that while removing Christ from everything. I just think that won’t work. I don’t know, it’s just my opinion, but I really feel that if you remove Christ from the equation, Christmas is just going to get worse and worse. Everyone will just get lost in gift buying and year-end retail figures and stuff like that, and everyone will be trying to find a “spirit of Christmas” without having a reason for the spirit.
I guess I’m just cynical about humanists in general, I mean, people who think people should just be good to be good and believe that people will actually do that. Just, to me, I think it will be hard to maintain a spirit of giving in Christmas without Christ. Why the heck should we give? Just because? Because retail depends on it for economic health? I don’t know, I’m just sad because I think Christmas is going to get worse and worse every year.
Which is why I love the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I bought the soundtrack. Just, what I love about it is that it unabashedly says how Christ is the meaning o Christmas. I don’t know, it just amazes me how it was made decades ago but it’s still so relevant today. Just, Charlie Brown, getting angry at all the commercialism, and then getting laughed at and ridiculed when he chooses a tree that only he finds beautiful. I love it.
This special did incredibly well this year in the ratings, also, which is awesome. I don’t know. I really believe everyone has a whole in their heart, this longing and aching that’s fundamental, and that most people just try to ignore by diverting themselves, which is why entertainment is so paramount in people’s lives. But everyone will find they need something more. And, I don’t know, I just hope the Charlie Brown Christmas Special helps people see it’s Jesus.
Honestly, I’ve been really struggling to find Jesus this Christmas. Just, I haven’t had time to think about it. So since I can’t think, I’ve just been doing things I need to do, getting gifts for family / roommates, stuff like that. And it sucks. I don’t know, just now is really the only time I’ve had to think about it.
And what does it mean that Jesus came for us 2000 years ago? What does it mean for me and my life? I don’t know, that’s something else I’m struggling with. What the heck I’m supposed to be doing now that I know that Jesus is with me. Because I’ve just been living my life on cruise control, just living out my days. Spending way too much time being entertained and not really being purposeful.
And I guess I’m still trying to figure out how to be purposefully living as a working person. Like, it can’t be the same as it was in college. But what is it supposed to look like? Are the Sundays and midweek Bible studies, and some service at church enough? Am I even growing spiritually? I don’t know, I know it doesn’t look the same way it did in college, but what does it look like? How am I supposed to live purposefully and have a long term, more global perspective? Just, what the heck is my purpose, and more importantly, how am I supposed to be fulfilling it? Just what the heck am I supposed to be doing? What does God want me to do? No clue.
Whoa, heavy questions. I guess I realize there’s a lot on my mind and what disturbs me is that I haven’t had time to think about it, much less do something about it, in a while. So what I’m realizing is that all I’ve been doing is getting lost in the day to day, putting in my “Christian” time but mostly doing what I despise – filling my time with entertainment instead of being purposeful. Bad.
I’m glad I’m going home. Home is always a good time for me. There’s a lot less to do so it always gives me time to think, and hopefully, it will give me time to focus. Hopefully it will just give me time. Less diversions, less entertainment, and less letting life go by, and more purpose. I don’t know, we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll find Jesus this week. Now that I’ve started to think about it, I’m realizing I really need to. Hope you find Jesus too.
Uh, sorry for the bizarro late night psycho post. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.