Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting there

We got the tree up yesterday and we also managed to decorate it!

A few years ago we bought a fake tree. I prefer real trees, but the mess of the needles kind of drives me nuts. Months after Christmas is over I still find pine needles popping up in the carpet or working their way out of the furniture.

M is getting into the holiday spirit this year which is great and she wanted a live tree - so that's what we got! A few weekends ago we went on a spending spree and bought all new ornaments to replace some of the older balls that were starting to fade. We went with more the "decorator" look and bought ornaments that were in the same color scheme. The really remarkable part was that we both agreed on which ones we liked!

It looks very pretty, but there is a part of me that misses the ornaments that I've had for years. The ones the kids made for me when they were little. The two "baby's first Christmas" ornaments that are now well over 20 years old. My Mom even gave me some of the ornaments we used to hang on our tree when I was little. Unwrapping them each year is like opening a photo album - the memories just flood back.

I'll find places for them around the house somewhere. There's always a plant that needs a little holiday flair added to it!

Right now the house is a complete mess. I have about 6 tubs filled with holiday decorations that I have to find places for. They are all opened and sitting in my dining room with some of the contents pulled out and strewn about the floor. Some on the dining room table, coffee table, kitchen table - basically any available space. Today we'll put of the rest of the house decorations and try to clean up the place a bit.

Driving to get my coffee today one of my favorite Christmas songs came on the radio. Heirlooms by Amy Grant.

Here are some of the lyrics:

Up in the attic,
Down on my knees.
Lifetimes of boxes,
Timeless to me.
Letters and photographs,
Yellowed with years,
Some bringing laughter,
Some bringing tears.

Time never changes,
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me,
All that I come from,
And all that I live for,
And all that I'm going to be.
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me.

I think many people get very nostalgic around the holidays. You remember Christmases when you were a kid or when your own children were little and that wonder that came along with the season.

The commercialism of the holidays drives me insane. Seeing Christmas decorations up in the stores the day after Halloween is just maddening. Radio station that go all holiday music from Thanksgiving through New Years also drives me nuts. It's kind of killed the anticipation and the special feeling I used to get around the holidays.

Maybe I'm just old and crotchety now - that could very well be, but the holidays have lost a lot of meaning to me. And not just because of my lack of any religious convictions either. I am agnostic leaning more towards the atheist side of things but I had a time where religion did play an important part of my life. Now I'm just skeptical and grumpy.

I do like Christmas though and I still get mushy inside when I unwrap my manger set that my parents brought me from Ireland. I used to love to play with my parents manger set when I was a kid and looked at that little baby Jesus and wonder just who the heck was he and how did he go from a little baby to a man on the cross in just a few months?

Obviously I didn't realize that they skipped that whole middle part of his life in the bible. I still wonder what he was like when he was a kid though. Was he a bratty little 2 year old? A defiant 3 year old? What was he like as a teenager? Did he go out and drink with his buddies? Have wild camel races in the desert?

My mind obviously has some really odd thoughts going around in it!

Still - I think about it. I know I can't be the only one.

Well, back to the business of finishing up the decorating and then cleaning up the mess I've made.

I'll put my Christmas music on and my little Santa hat and let my mind wonder through all of the years of Christmas past: "Some bringing laughter, some bringing tears".

Peace all!


Poetikat and the Hyggecats said...

I love the idea that the youthful Jesus could have gone a bit wild with camel races and a bit of wine? in the desert (think of the Wedding at Cana).

Would love to see a photo of your Irish Nativity set.

I'll be posting some nostalgic photos and stuff tomorrow for Museswings "Christmas in Bloggyland". Come on over for a visit to Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes. I'll keep a cup of eggnog for you.


neetzy said...

I still have the old ornaments. I like the hodge-podge of styles. Daughter A pulled out an old German elf that scared her. He had an eev-il grin. I have a mushroom from the 70s. That one is hilarious.

Jesus as a youth? Fun to fantasize about that one. I loved the Last Temptation of Christ because it portrayed him as a human and not some robotic non-being with flowing light brown hair and blue eyes.

Camel races? I heard a spot on NPR about the Amish kids buying their first buggy. Some of them are are customized with maple cup holders and other cool gadgets like sun roofs. Kids are kids. Jesus was a kid too.

Presbyfruit said...

I don't believe in the Biblical birth narrative at all, and I get irritated that churches trot out this stuff every year as if it's true. They could at least focus on it as a story, rather than history.

I'm grumpy and skeptical too!

Vic Hubbard said...

Shazza, there are several great "spiritual" books you should read. One is the Gnostic Gospels.
They are considered heresy by many in the regular churches. But, if memory serves, it was an interesting read. We've been having the Christmas discussion. I participate for Sylvia, too many years with FedEx. But, it has special memories, and therefore meaning, for Sylvia.

Shazza said...

Kat - I think Jesus had a bit of rebel in him or else he wouldn't be who he was!

Egg Nog with extra brandy please! ;)

Neetzy - I have one of those mushrooms too! It's one of my favorites! Jesus was human before he became the Christ so I'm sure he had the same human stages!

Presby - Welcome to the grumpy club! We're having a bake sale at the end of the month. Everyone is required to bring in something to share with the group!

Vic - I've listened to Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God and read Letters to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. I will take a look at Gnostic Gospels - thanks for the recommendation.