Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas continued...

(If you want to avoid irrelevant musing, skip this paragraph, thanks) Sorry for that last post, I was frightened. I've been away for like, 2.5 weeks now and IKOTM has suffered. So i'm really gonna make an effort to get my blog posts in December up around 15-20. I'm like Def Lepperd coming out with a new album- it's been a while but they'll have lots of material!

This month has just not seemed "Christmasy". There are few who love Christmas music more than me, and I haven't really fired up my iPod that much. We had snow, went sledding, had staff Christmas parties at church, adopt-a-family with youth group, put up the tree with my family, put up Sarah's tree with her family, oh ya, and I GOT FREAKING ENGAGED AT A CHRISTMAS ORCHESTRA CONCERT! But still, no Christmas tingly feeling inside. No wide eyed wonder or dreams about sugar plumb faries. (If anyone could send me a link to some sugar plumb faries that'd be cool, I don't really know what they are.)

So whats the problem? We're 4 days out from Christmas, I should be feeling festive! I've participated in all the "stuff" but it hasn't spurred my yule tide feelings. Is my heart stone like, nay, Scrooge like? Am I shallow enough to not be excited because there are no big ticket presents i've asked for this year? I don't think so, at least I hope not.

The problem is growing up.

The transition from childhood/student life into adulthood is pretty hard. I've found that holidays are a big indicator of this. Anyone remember their first Halloween just sitting at home watching slasher movies on TBS rather than being out scoring pounds of candy? It was devastating. Another milestone was the first Christmas you woke up at 7am, then wanted to go back to sleep more than rush downstairs to open presents. What started in 10th grade has come to full fruition at 22.

Adulthood makes Christmas harder. Now instead of just signing all my parents cards for other people and getting "credit" for their gifts that I didn't help pay for, i've got to get people my own, cause I have a job now! Now, instead of having nothing to do for 3 weeks while home from College, you work the whole time! Now, instead of drooling over the thoughts of action figures and nintendo games Christmas morning, I open up new towels or luggage.....AND I LIKE IT! Function has trumped action, practicality rules. I'll still cling to my stocking candy and the fact that I can mooch off the free food at my parent's house.

I'm thinking Christmas will be a lot more fun when you're married...but then the most fun of all is when you have your own kids, especially once their brains are developed enough to start to understand whats going on.

But I think the reason Christmas is harder as an adult is you think about more than just yourself. You get past feeling good about putting 75cents your parents gave you in the parking lot to put in the red kettle when you were young to thinking about how much people still need help in July too. You think about the fact that you bought a Nintendo Wii and yet you helped a family who didn't have heat. Then you feel bad because you don't feel as bad as you think you should. Re-read that last sentance, see if it makes better sense the second time.

You think about how you don't want your parents to get older, how you hope your Grandma can see her Grandkids well into their lives. You think about the fact that we have no real basis other than tradition to base Jesus brithday on December 25. You think about how lucky you are to have such great people in your life all together at once for Christmas, and you think about how you should keep in touch better the rest of the year.

You think about what you thought Christmas was about when you were young. Then you think about how much more you know now, but really how much less you know. Like how you could discuss the different theories about the magi but really not begin to explain how God made himself into a human, born to a virgin. You think about the fact that baby Jesus had first words, and poopy diapers, just like you did. Then you giggle when you think about Will Farrell's prayer in Taladaga nights, haha, sorry. You think that the story you grew up with isn't just a story, but history. You think about how unbelievably scared Mary and Joseph had to have been. You think about how you can take God's gift to people, not just for a month in December but your whole life until the day you die. You think about what your good friend Steve said, that Christians should be "experts at Christmas". I like that.

Maybe i'm feeling Christmasy after all.


Andy B. said...

Adam - this is wonderful! I have linked to it from EnterTheRainbow and the Methoblog. Great stuff, brother!

Professor RJ Gumby said...

I second that your post was very good reading.

As Daniel (my son for those who do not know) has hit middle school, I have found myself again with those same feelings you stated so well.

Being that I am a 50-something, I have a few more years of history to recall. In the last 4 years, I do something that carves out a special time at the holiday for me. I stay up late and watch "A Christmas Carol", the 1951 version with Alastair Sims as Scrooge. He portrays the redemption in the story better than anyone I have ever seen, stage or screen. (And by way of confession, I get teary eyed when he utters "Can you forgive a pig headed old fool for having no eyes to see with or ears to hear with all these years?")

At the end, I turn off the TV and sit by the lights of the tree. I drop to my knees and pray...and usually I see the tree as the light from the manger. Around the Christ child I see relatives like my mom, my father in law, and others who have gone on to the Lord before me. I am flooded with warm memories of all the Christmas times I have enjoyed and for that time, I truly feel all the blessing and joy that have been in my life come together. I think the phrase Wesley used about the heart being strangely warmed describes that about as well as anything.

I actually look forward to that silly ritual - the late night movie, then sitting and praying by the tree. But the burdens of life are lifted, and I am left to pray with all those departed saints at the manger.

Maybe its the advantage of getting can slow down and be in the moment. But I encourage it for everyone. Christmas truly arrives for me at that time.

God bless

Scott Watson

Brad said...

"I wish that I knew what I know now...when I was younger..." Sometimes I'm glad I didn't.

Peace, and thanks for calling me when you got engaged, you jerk.

Baby Jesus be with you, B

EyeRytStuf said...

I followed the link on Andy's site and enjoyed this read. I linked to you and posted my thoughts on the topic (and a semi-connected ramble) on my non-blog.