My Worst Christmas Is Still Christmas

This is the worst Christmas that I can remember. But I’m OK with that. I was hoping to have gone to Ohio to spend it with my family. My kids and I are all sick, which means that no one really got much sleep. And no trip to Ohio. Instead, I’m waking up on an air mattress in my own living room with nothing but these oddly placed lights (no tree) to remind me that it’s Christmas. My throat burns. I feel miserable.

But still, that doesn’t stop Christmas. Today is a day of celebration. Albeit, a flawed celebration, at the wrong time of year, sprinkled with pagan traditions (which I can’t honestly deny: I do like the pagan traditions), but it is still a celebration of the God and Creator of the universe coming to this lowly existence in the flesh. It is the celebration of life – both this life, and the gift of eternal life. It is the celebration of what was probably one of the worst Christmases that God ever had: birth is a difficult process, and His was under difficult circumstances -including the very goal of death. I really don’t think it was a very good Christmas for Him, but it was a WONDERFUL Christmas for us. Now we have hope and light in this dark world.

Today, there are soldiers who are having a cold, wet, sick, lonely, miserable Christmas. I woke up today with my family in a warm home, having gotten -very little, but still SOME – sleep. And today we shall celebrate Christmas. Besides, misery isn’t so bad. It’s OK to laugh at that, but this is what I mean:

“…our American culture’s overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am wary in the face of this possibility: to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful over our society’s efforts to expunge melancholia from the system. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?” – Eric G. Wilson in Against Happiness: In Praise Of Melancholia

So yes, this is the worst Christmas that I’ve ever had. But it is still Christmas.

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Cursive in School

I’ve heard that there are a number of public schools that don’t teach cursive anymore. I am sad about that because I personally prefer cursive writing; it’s easier on the hand, it’s beautiful, it adds an air of both formality and personality. But then when I start to wonder why it’s so important, I can’t really come up with a good answer. Few people use it anymore (this very journal is typed) and it’s being phased out of signature requirements through both print and electronic signature. So I guess in the end, I don’t mind if they stop teaching it in schools. Still, I do prefer it and intend on teaching my kids how to read/write in cursive.

I Swear: Concern About Christian Culture

December 10th, 2015, New York City – Judge Carolyn Walker-Diallo is sworn into civil court upon a Q’uaran, not a Bible. Needless to say, this has caused quite an uproar among select patriots. Christians are particularly upset, but I’m not convinced that they should be. Maybe they should.

My thoughts on the matter are as follows: it was important enough to her to make an honest oath that she broke a mighty tradition so she could swear that oath on something that matters to her. Now that’s an oath that means something. How many non Christians have sworn empty oaths upon a Holy Book that means nothing to them? And why? Because Christians insisted on it. Christians have the tendancy to hold the rest of the world to a standard that only means something to Christians and then wonder at the disastrous results. We have got to STOP doing that. We have to stop expecting the things that are important to us to be important to the World.

I’m wondering if we should instead be upset that the Bible is ever used for oaths at all. Jesus Christ specifically said to not swear by anything, but to “simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No'” (Matthew 5:34-37). So shouldn’t we instead be upset that the Bible is used for the very thing it says to not do? I don’t know. Maybe not. But I do know that we have to stop caring about what’s traditional or what we are taught and start caring about what’s actually written in this Book.

But we don’t care. We don’t read it ourselves. We don’t challenge our own thoughts and seek out what God really said. And that is my greatest concern for Christian culture today. This is proven in many situations. I think of one in particular: I have a friend who is a pastor. Actually, he could be a pastor; he would be a pastor – if only there was a church that would take him. The problem is that he speaks the truth and churches don’t like that. He isn’t even harsh; he speaks the truth with gentleness, peace, and love. But he still speaks the truth. It isn’t even (necessarily) painful truth; it’s very simply, “well, I know that x is what’s popular and x is what we’re used to, but Scripture says Y. I know it isn’t our tradition, but if Y is what’s actually in the Bible, then I’m going with Y.” And the church has rejected him.

I’m very concerned about our Christian culture because our Christian culture has stopped caring about truth.

Trusting God in the Face of Opposition

People don’t understand. And they aren’t ever going to understand. (That’s the generalization. The specifics will sound like I’m fretting, but I’m not; I’m just pondering.) I’m pregnant for third time in just over two years. At this point, I’ll be constantly cursed by society. It isn’t like I can explain it to them, either. It isn’t like we planned things this way, neither was it an “accident.” It isn’t even like I like doing this – I don’t enjoy being a mom! Why am I doing it, then? Because God told me to. That’s it. What kind of an explanation is that?! The truth is, I have no explanation. I have nothing to offer that will make sense to anyone. I’m locked into a position in which I HAVE to be OK with that; with being misunderstood by all people except God Himself; with HIM being sufficient for me.

It was easier to blend in with the world before. It’ll be much more difficult here on out. These kinds of distinctions will only increase as time goes on.

A Dream About Grace in Time

I had a dream that I had gone back in time to my junior year of high school. I dream about my old high school very frequently, but this was different; it wasn’t about “old times” and it wasn’t me as an adult visiting the school. I had gone back in time from here and now to then and there. I didn’t know how I got there or how much time I had, so wanted to make the best of it.

I decided to use it to contact my best friend and convince her to stay away from her boyfriend (now husband). In real life, that’s exactly what the me of that time was doing. It was one of the hardest trials of our friendship. I was less than kind to her.

It got me wondering: if I really did go back in time, is that how I would use it? I couldn’t contact my former self, so it had to be something to affect someone else. I really would WANT to use it that way – to tell her to leave him and warn her of things to come. But my adult self knows her well enough to know that even with a “current” me and a “future” me combined, she wouldn’t listen. Then again, knowing myself, I would probably still try. I would probably also apologise for my own future behavior and let her know that I do eventually grow up. Still, I’m sure I would try. After all, what I said in my own dream really is true: she’s “the most important person to me from that time.”