Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Christmas

A few people have asked so I'm just going to make it easier by talking about it here. Yes, I had a good Christmas, but in a lot of ways it was strange and didn't really feel like Christmas. My mom got married in October (see earlier post) so instead of our "usual" family traditions, we went to his family's house for Christmas Day. His parents made their traditional Christmas dinner and they all exchanged gifts - they had even bought gifts for me even though I barely know them! They are all wonderful people - very welcoming and intentional about making me feel included (I was even asked to do the prayer before dinner) and yet I still felt like an outsider. Of course I did - I was an outsider, completely unknown to these people until a couple of months ago! And while I was grateful that they though to include me in their gift giving, the gifts I received were generic gifts anyone could buy anyone (for example, a candle). I know they were being nice, and I will use the gifts they gave me, but I couldn't help feeling a little down. If these people really knew me at all, they could have spared the shopping and wrapping - I'd prefer a donation to a charity rather than getting more "knick knacks" and "stuff" that needs a place in my house.

There were other things that made this Christmas odd for me - the biggest being that we didn't go to church. In my family the tradition has always been to go to midnight mass but my brother's car died (REALLY dead) and by the time he made it to the house (when my mom's husband drove to pick him up) and we had our Christmas dinner, we were too tired to stay up that late. Which also meant we didn't get to open one gift before going to bed. And Rob's family isn't really religious so there was no church Christmas Day either - where was the meaning of Christmas? In the Yankee Candle and other brand name gifts?? I hate to sound ungrateful but I can't wait for Angela to get home so I can truly celebrate the holiday.


Anonymous said...

Hi- it is me- your lurker :)) I feel a little funny about replying since this post was so deeply personal. Hopefully I'm not overstepping lurker boundaries, I just wanted to offer some support- first I'm very sorry that a holiday that can be very fulfilling and a source of energy, strength and peace didn't turn out the way you wanted it. And I wanted to possibly offer a perspective that hopefully will make if feel less of a loss to you. First, you have every right to feel the way you do- please allow me to validate that. So with that seed planted let's see what we can grow. My usual church is Catholic, I think I mentioned that before, but I also like going to Unity, especially the bowl burning, angel card service they have around New Years. I drew this year and my word was Purpose. So my meditation/prayer/focus has been on that- from all perspectives. My purpose in life, other people's lives, work, the world, etc. Also though, their purpose in mine. It's that dynamic of where do we get our energy from and where do we chose or allow it to go. That is probably where this is coming from. I wondered if your mom's husband's family would ever have the thought of giving a charitable donation for a gift? If they aren't religious, and it didn't sound like they were really spiritual in any other way, then maybe that would be a paradigm shift for them. Something that never occured to them. A perspective that perhaps only you can bring into their lives. Perhaps a showing of grace is the gift you come bearing. Maybe next year a charitable donation can be made in their name or ease them in gently with something like a gift from the Gap that benefits Aids in Africa. Marianne Williamson writes in 'The Gift of Change' "All of us are on a spiritual path, but some people simply don't know it." I think you are feeling that they don't understand you, but maybe the picture is a bit larger and there is lots they don't understand, aren't aware of, ..... don't know that it's missing or has more peices and they should be looking for them. It probably isn't going to be a lightening bolt revelation, but maybe they just need an example to follow or an image to expand their vision. Christmas isn't just about the birth of Christ, but being led to the meaning and wonder of God. Perhaps your candle will emit the light that illuminates more than consumerism, food and presents moving forward.

mandyc said...

Thanks for the comment!! I would call you by name, but I don't know your name and calling you "lurker" doesn't seem very nice. :) This does help me feel better and think about the situation from a different angle - I like the idea of a larger purpose!! I'm sorry I haven't commented on the study from Baylor yet - I'm hoping to get to read it later this week when/if things calm down. :) Lurk anytime!

Anonymous said...

LOL- It's Mary- nice to meet you Mandy C. :)) I enjoy the conversation- rarely do I come across people that are secure or in touch enough spititually to be able to communicate where they are at and even more rare that they would have the depth of a theological background. Thanks for letting me tag along.