Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just wanted to thank everyone who has been reading and making comments - either on line or in person around campus. It's finals week - the stress is finally easing up and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief!! Now that papers are written and classes are done meeting (at least until January 9th for many of us), we can actually participate in the Christmas festivities. I've barely begun to write my Christmas cards (so if you've gotten one from me already, be thankful you were at the top of the list before the major end of semester stress put that to a halt) and still have several people to get gifts for.

It's interesting, with my "inlaws" we don't exchange gifts. This was something we started last year with the intention that rather than buying gifts for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary, etc., we would give one gift at another time of year when it felt "right" rather than obligatory. The idea was also that instead of giving "smaller" gifts that we didn't really need, we would be able to justify spending a little more on the gift to get something that was going to be more useful and appreciated. Interestingly enough, that never happened. We never bought anything for them and never received anything from them. I don't know why it worked out that way - we talked about it a few times, but decided that the time wasn't right or that we couldn't really afford what we wanted to get them at that point in time. We've talked about it again this year and decided that we're still not going to do gifts for Christmas. We still send cards and talk on the phone so we know that we're thinking of each other and remember the special days in each other's lives, but no "things" to clutter our homes and our lives. On the one hand, I'm proud of our decision, but on the other hand I question the practices. Why didn't we give anything all year? Perhaps the point of Christmas is that we finally show the appreciation for the people in our lives - but do we need to give "things" to show our love and appreciation? I know that I personally love with food - I cook for people and want them to enjoy the food I prepare. But how would you feel if someone told you that for Christmas, they were inviting you to dinner? Would you think that was enough? I suspect that while many would want to say that it is, deep down there would be some disappointment that it wasn't a DVD, XBox or gift card to Starbucks. I know that I feel guilty for not getting gifts for Angela's parents while we're still getting gifts for her sister, but haven't really figured out where that comes from or what that means.

In the end, I'm just glad to be done with the semester. Despite anything that's been said anywhere in this blog, I really do love Christmas. It is and has always been a favorite time for me. December 23rd marks the 4th anniversary of my dad's death in a motorcycle accident. While it's still hard for me, nothing can change the fact that at Christmas time I feel more appreciative, peaceful and reflective than any other time of the year. I have reading to do for my January class (which is United Methodist history so there should be some interesting blog entries in the future...) but will take the time to enjoy the beauty of the season and hope you all will too. Love and Peace to all....

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