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Sunday, December 18, 2005

the dog is lit

Sunday Post ~ "Our finest gifts we bring (pa rum pum pum pum) . . . "

A few years ago, I waited eagerly for a television special documentary called "Christmas in Bethlehem," in which, I thought, I would get to see how the birth of Christ is celebrated in the holiest, most reverent way imaginable. When the show finally aired, I was deeply disappointed. There, at the birthplace of my Lord and Savior, the faithful set up little tchotchke booths. They sold all manner of tacky souvenirs. At the appointed hour, there was a fireworks display. I don't know what I was expecting, exactly, but it wasn't that. I wanted to see something better, something higher, something somehow superior to that carnival atmosphere. I confess, I judged those people harshly.

But the more I thought about it, the more I understood the celebration there. For those who believe, the Christmas story truly is The Greatest Story Ever Told. What do we humans have, what can we possibly do, to make our celebration of the story a fitting tribute to its meaning? We can't put a Star of Bethlehem in the sky. We can't dispatch angels and a multitude of heavenly host, singing praise from above a stable. So we do what we can. In our primitive, limited human way, we say, "WOO-HOO!" by pulling out from boxes, bags, closets, garages, the happiest, most joyful things and stuff that we have. Sentimental tchotchkes, twinkling lights, decorated trees (and dogs). We make and share the best things we can think of, to eat and drink.

And most importantly, we try to bring out the best that we have inside us. We talk about having a "spirit" that we may not think too much about having, the rest of the year. It's a spirit that encourages us to "adopt" children or families less fortunate than we, and go shopping with their wish lists in hand. It's a spirit that encourages us to forgive, to reconcile with family, to tolerate people we may label intolerable the rest of the year. It's a spirit that asks us to pause and consider how to live these days in peace and good will.

I like to imagine that God is delighted with our primitive attempts at acknowledging this occasion, the way a parent is delighted by a kindergartener's handmade gift. If you don't believe, as I do, that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," there is still plenty to celebrate. I wish you a joyful celebration of the knowledge that somehow, somewhere, love and truth and hope entered our world, and abide with us still.

Luke 2:1-20

file under: &Sunday Post

28 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Squirl said...

That's a beautiful post, Susie. Too bad we don't show that spirit all year long.

Love the picture, too. :-)

 
Blogger RitaPita said...

susie,

I love the post! It is so close to some things I have been thinking about lately that I was momentarily lost for words.

My favorite part?
I like to imagine that God is delighted with our primitive attempts at acknowledging this occasion, the way a parent is delighted by a kindergartener's handmade gift.

Just beautiful. Any parent or anyone who as ever loved a child knows that delight so well, the receiving (and keeping and cherishing) of that homemade gift
and the way it swells inside you.

A friend of mine (who is also the best marriage counselor ever, trust me I know) wrote a great post over at his blog that I bet you would like a lot. Here is a link, check it out if you have time.

WoundedHealer

 
Blogger RitaPita said...

whoa. sorry my comment was a little longish.

hey, if you didn't know any better, it looks like spam at first glance. :)

 
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

This may be my favorite Sunday post yet, both the picture and the story.

And RitaPita's favorite sentence is mine as well.

 
Blogger Jim said...

Very nicely done.

Even though cynicism gets higher every year, there's no denying that the world FEELS different the middle two weeks of December.

You have an amazing writing talent. Truly.

 
Blogger eclectic said...

Your ability (unique in my experience) to embrace your beliefs openly without the need to castigate those who don't share them, is incredible. Your wit and wisdom make you a very bright light indeed. Keep shining wit'cho bad self, Susie, and have a lovely day.

 
Blogger Southern Fried Girl said...

I confess that I have not had much Christmas spirit this year. I am going to try to do better.

 
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I may have watched the program, "Christmas in Bethlehem”—or, a similar one. Anyway, I learned that Christmas in the Holy Land is not the way I pictured it.

History informs me that commercialization and profit-making from religion has been around a very long time: as early at the 4th century I understand that there were peddlers in Jerusalem selling pilgrims “slivers of the true cross.”

I think the most important part of Christmas is remembering and retelling the story. From that the Spirit moves within us.

I thank you for this post which has helped fuel my growing desire to dance to the music of these holy days and I return to you your wish that you may joyfully celebrate the realization that somehow, somewhere, love and truth and hope have entered our world, and abide with us still.

 
Blogger Nina said...

Beautiful post, we do the best we can. I agree with that, in our limited human abilities, but certainly it is enough, since it is from the heart.
Biscuit is festive and I love the picture. :)

 
Blogger MrsDoF said...

The VBD Biscuit is very patient lately. Two great pictures where he is all dressed up.
Maybe he's trying out his best behavior just in time for a certain gift-getting holiday.

The 'tolerate people' is something I've been having trouble with lately. Isn't there some little side note which says she should be willing to meet in the middle?

 
Blogger Cori said...

I LOVE this post. I hope it's ok that I linked to you. You've managed to put my feeling of our attempt to celebrate a momentous occasion into the perfect words.

 
Blogger mreddie said...

For the first time this year our extended family decided not to give gifts to each other but to pool what we would have spent (and more) and buy for another less fortunate family. We received a wish list from a local church and especially the ladies of our clan went shopping for them and had a ball. These gifts were wrapped and delivered to our go-between that was to get them to the family. That gives a warm feeling already.

The best thing about this season is family gatherings, even if it is a little hassle getting things prepared, the warm hearts are worth any effort. The bright eyes of the little ones and the laughter and good-natured kidding from the adults is making me grin in anticipation.

Then as we read together the very scripture you listed and have prayer, our hearts are joined together in that special bond that says this is what a family is supposed to be like. Plus it also reminds that we are a part of a much larger "family" that will spend eternity together. Exciting!!! ec

 
Blogger Susie said...

squirl, thank you, sis. We'll just keep trying :)

ritapita, you, a spammer? Naw. Thank you for the kind words, and for the link. I did visit. (I thought I was the best marriage counselor ever ;)

Aw, thank you, bucky :)

jim, you're very kind. Yea, it does feel different. It's that *spirit*, I guess.

eclectic, well, that's very kind of you. I ain't no Casti Gator. Is that anything like a Ninny Gator? I don't do well with being threatened or shamed. I do well with being loved. I imagine there are many others like me. Different strokes.

sfg, that is so sweet. We'll all try to do better.

ssnick, thank you for the wishes. Telling the story is indeed, important.

nina, your comment reminds me of one of the songs in our church's children's Christmas pageant last week. Indulge me just a moment: it was about a Christmas play (play w/in a play kinda thing), in which no one wanted the "small" parts, everyone wanted to be "important." One of the lines from the song was, "When God sees that you've got heart, that's when you'll be perfect for the part."

mrsDoF, he loves to dress up! Oh, dear, I know what you mean with wanting someone to meet you half way. But, as difficult as it is, and I DO struggle with this, the answer is NOPE, they don't have to meet us in the middle. In the last couple of years I have become intimately familiar with all those verses that talk about returning blessing for curse.

cori, that is very kind of you; of course you're welcome to link. I am so pleased that it has some meaning for you :)

mreddie, when I wrote the other day about my Christmas traditions, the one you describe here is one I left out, but one that is very important. A few years ago, on my husband's side of the family, the siblings and their spouses stopped drawing names for one another, and started pooling all the money we would have spent, and adopting a charity. This year it was a group of teen boys in a "children's home." One of my favorites was when we bought some critters for a family through Heifer, International. We got someone a water buffalo, I remember that! Yes, that is the most good we ever do all together, the giving thing.

 
Blogger RitaPita said...

for some reason, my mouth tastes like my foot...

Susie, lol. yikes, I guess I forgot what you do In real life. You mean you have a job that doesn't involve getting us talking and laughing and carrying on? :)

 
Blogger Kim said...

I came over via Cori's recommendation, and I'm glad she sent me. Very nice sentiment expressed here, good job!

 
Blogger LadyBug said...

That was just beautiful.

God bless you, Susie.

 
Blogger Susie said...

ritapita, heeheeee, just playing with ya ;)

kim, welcome, thanks for letting me know you were here :)

ladybug, you, too, my dear.

 
Blogger Nilbo said...

As always, you humble me with your elegant turn of phrase. It is possible for me to adore you and resent you at the same time for that.

I love Christmas for all the reasons many people hate it. I've long felt that analogy about the handmade gift, but never had the words to express it. Now I do. Consider them stolen.

No ... consider them your Christmas gift for me. Thank you, dear Susie.

 
Blogger globalfriendshipnetwork said...

i was searching about Christmas . i found this blog . i would like to wish you " Merry christmas " to owner and all visitors of this blog . Thanks

 
Anonymous lawbrat said...

Very nice Susie. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

 
Blogger Redhead Mommy said...

Oh, but I DO believe! I DO! I DO! I DO!

 
Blogger Amy said...

Lovely.

And eclectic's "Keep shining wit'cho bad self, Susie" is my fave comment sentence, eva.

 
Blogger Andrea said...

Merry Christmas to you, Susie, if I don't get a chance to say it later. You're such a blessing to so many of us in the blogosphere, so I want you to know you're appreciated.

 
Blogger MrsDoF said...

I just perused your Flickr photos and saw your Comment about not sending the cards yet.
Better later, as the saying goes.
Surely your kinfolk will enjoy reading anything whenever it might arrive.

 
Blogger momo said...

Beautiful, Susie!

You have such a way with words. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

 
Blogger Susie said...

nilbo, if that's not the pot calling the kettle talented...or something like that -- see, you'd know how to say it properly. Thank you, though. And of course you're welcome to whatever you find here, as my gift to you (now I can return that Rolex...)

lawbrat, same backatcha, sweetie.

redheadmommy, I BELIEVE YOU! You make me smile :)

amy, thanks; eclectic is a funny girl ;)

andrea, you are very kind, and you are a bright spot as well; a busy bright spot who doesn't get to post so often these days ;) Merry Christmas to you and your family.

momo, thank you so very much; I am quite sure I wouldn't have kept doing this blogging thing without all the encouragement from nice people like you. I do thank you. And I wish you a Merry Christmas, and wonderful happenings in the new year.

 
Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I think this post is wonderful. I too think that God sees the intent in your heart and does not judge the end result.

 
Blogger Mamacita said...

I just LOVE your post. Thank you so very much for sharing. (I found you via Cori.)

 


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