Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ok, it was here and now it's about to leave. "It" being Christmas, of course. This is a confession blog. If you are not in the mood to read confessions then vamoose. Scram.

I warned ya.

Christmas is not my favorite time of the year. I know, I sound like a pagan or a communist or something for saying that. I've spent 50 years denying it but it's time to 'fess up. Let me make a few things very clear first.

A) I love Jesus. Actually, I love the whole Trinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. And I totally do not mean to be flippant or disrespectful in my phraseology. I am not merely a Jesus fan ... He is my Savior. I owe Him everything. He is my best friend. I would rather spend time alone with Him than anyone. I take joy in worshipping Him. So my lack of passion for Christmas is not a lack of passion for the birthday Boy. Not even close.

B) I love the church. She is the Bride of Christ. I am a part of her. I do not disrespect her, feel cynical about her, or in anyway mean to trash talk her. Never trash talk Jesus bride. That would, I suspect, be a very dangerous thing to do.

C) I love my family and my friends. Both my local family and my long-distance family. I would do anything for them. My local friends and my long-distance friends. Again, they are on my short list of things (people) I would die for. So I don't mean any of this as a slam against them. For that matter, I don't mean it as a slam against anybody.

So now that we have that out of the way, here we go.

The Christmas season leaves me cold. It is all of the usual things that people complain about when they analyze Christmas and it is more. Crass commercialism? Yes, of course. I detest the way that the media insists on a day by day dissection of whether or not we are going to spend as much money on each other as we did last year. How despicable is that? While Santa reigns in center court of every mall, Jesus sits outside somewhere beyond the parking lot. And we do not even try to hide it. "We" being the church. We fall for the same thing pagan's fall for. The only possible difference is that we spend our money in "Christian" bookstores ... of course they are owned by conglomerates that have nothing to do with anything remotely Christian. On the other hand I am well aware that I should not expect anything better out of the world. I mean, at least we are giving each other gifts. We are generally not killing each other. We are, for once, being nice and thinking of people other than ourselves. So I suppose that there is a plus side. It's just a smaller plus side than I would like.

I confess to being bugged by eight foot tall glowing Santa's, snowmen, and this years latest addition, huge inflatable water filled snow globes. I have to admit that this latest edition is at least creative. The first time I saw one I knew how an ant must feel crawling across an end table where the usual mini-snow globes sit. Do I even have to mention my thoughts on 200 watt manger scenes?

And then there is "The Little Drummer Boy." Have you ever really listened to that song? It's about some guy playing a drum solo for baby Jesus and getting a smile in return. Isn't that just a little bit goofy? There are twenty-one "rum pum pum pum's." This lyrical masterpiece has one hundred and sixty eight words. Ninety eight of those words are either pa, rum, or pum. That leaves seventy words for substance and story line. Do I really need to say more?

Fudge. I love fudge. Vanilla is my favorite but nobody makes it so I settle for chocolate. It is usually polluted by nuts of some sort. All nuts are evil so it doesn't really matter. I suck the fudge off of them and spit them out. Why do people only make fudge at Christmas? Have you ever seen fudge at an Independence Day celebration? Memorial Day? Have you ever seen green fudge on St. Patricks day? Face it, if it is not Christmas your only hope for getting fudge is to go to some tourist spot and pay $7.99 per pound. Not even fudge is worth $7.99 per pound. Carrot Cake is another evil thing that seems to dominate Christmas. People ... vegetables do not belong in cake. Ever. Make a note of it.

Now that I am fifty years old the gifts that I receive at Christmas tend to be designed to encourage me to do things that will not hurt me. You know. Things that point me to my favorite easy chair rather than participation in a wild eyed sporting event or even a minor league work-out. I suppose that I should make that concession to Christmas. I can't get hurt watching a dvd in my new sweater. Well, I can. But I have to work at it.

And here is the real problem. Who has the time during December to really sit down and contemplate what Christmas means? Can you honestly say that at any time during the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas day you are able to simply reflect on the magnitude of what this holiday means? I'm not really all that bugged by the shopping and the culinary gorging and such. I'm just irritated that the entire season slips by and I feel so pressured to "do the Christmas thing" that I never connect with Christ Himself. And you know who's fault that is? Mine. You don't run my schedule. Nobody runs my schedule but me. So it's my fault. Not yours. Certainly not God's. The gavel crashes down on nobody but yours truly.

I could go on but what's the point? I am always more tired when Christmas is over than I was when it began. I just wish that we (the church) could find some way to love Jesus out loud without having to fake it. And that is what Christmas so often seems to be. Faking it. Convincing ourselves that we are really loving and caring and self-sacrificing when we know that we are not. Not in any big scale way at least. I think that it would be really cool if, for instance, someone would just forget about the fudge and instead call me up or drop by my office and say something like, "How are you, Ron? Tell me the truth. What is on the front burner of your brain these days? Let me in on it so that I can pray for you or simply encourage you. Because I care and I don't need to spend a penny to prove it." How refreshing that would be!

Ok, enough. This is probably a really bummer/detestable blog. I apologize if I drug you down with my thoughts. That was not my goal. Honest. But every now and then I have to just say, "Hey, this is MY blog spot and so I'm just going to write what is on my mind." And that is all that this has been. It's what is on my mind. It may or may not be close to the truth. It may or may not apply to you, the reader. I haven't a clue. It's just where my brain is. I'll probably wake up at about 3AM, burp, and be over it. So sleep tight and puh-lease don't let these mini-ranting make a dent in your tomorrow.

God is good. He can take it when I'm feeling less than exhilarted. I hope you can too...


One-Eyed Jack said...

OK, Ron. As a recovering music teacher, I certainly appreciate where you're coming from. And frankly, if I hear another PARUMPAPUMPUM, I may just fire of a cannon.

But I also love listening to Christmas music, sacred stuff, year round. I recall several years ago while driving a pizza delivery truck in Williamsburg, KY that I would listen to Michael W. Smith's Christmas album and be worshipping as I made my runs. I think that the burnout comes when we don't celebrate His coming year round, and try to make up for it in 4 weeks.

Just some thoughts.


One-Eyed Jack said...

Just another note, the incident in question occurred in July.


Ron said...

Hey, so ill conservative, thank you for your comments. i hope you'll read the blog again as I made an adjustment to it. i remembered where to point the finger ... at me. ouch! I appreciate your taking the time to read my stuff and hope that it generally blesses you and doesn't bring discouragement! I agree with you, I love music about our Savior year around. Give me some Michael W. and head phones and I can be in my own little zone for the day!
God bless... Ron