Thursday, December 21, 2006

To post or not to post...

Hi, welcome to my blog. Below is something I (obviously) wrote, a few days back. Please note: I was in one of my moods... All in all, I usually end up liking most of "Christmas" as we know it, I try to see the beauty... except I have some clearly dismal moments or days within the season (since it does last for a month, give or take a week or two), where I question everything. I am a questioner by nature, temperament and trade( which can be good at times, and not so good at others) Please stick around for more uplifting posts or other kinds of posts...who knows what the day will bring. I guess below you will get a glimpse into the struggles I have with myself and God...wanting to honor Him without getting caught up... 'tis hard...

God in a Christmas box

Sometimes I wonder if this whole Christmas thing isn't just one big distraction from what we really need to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I like reflecting on the birth of Christ, I love the emphasis on giving to those in need... but I can do this, and perhaps "ought to", anytime. And do those in need really NEED more random "stuff." Do we Americans really need more stuff or more excuses to buy more stuff. Do us women need more reasons to shop? Are we running around like chickens with our heads cut off, following obligations and traditions, simply because, well, everyone else is doing it, it's what's expected., and God forbid, it's what has always been done... so we try to squeeze God into this Christmas box-- this tradition-- as if it was a commandment itself , written in the bible, in red.
Every year around this time, I can get very apathetic about the whole thing. Sure the lights are pretty, the music can be nice, but, for one, it lasts too long. Maybe it's because I get caught up in it too much, the pressure to conform, and lose my voice, my convictions. It's not a cardinal sin to not regard this time as "sacred" just as it isn't a cardinal sin to do regard this time as sacred. I got that from the bible (Col. ) It all boils down to personal conviction and living unto God. Are we choosing for ourselves how we function during this time, or are we just getting caught in a massive tide of activity. Can we even hear God and what he's saying? What if he has something to say to us that falls outside of the Christmas story. How many Sundays in December do we have to keep singing Christmas carols? I know, now I'm getting really picky. But I do believe that we've created webs and webs of our own traditions and agendas, that we can't seem to get out of, and sometimes we're straining just to get some oxygen. Crowds are shuffling around to hear the same sermon they heard last year just because, well, you have to go to church on Christmas. But who really cares about what God is saying? Thank Goodness he opens ears to hear and eyes to see for those he's drawing close and he'll take them in on "Christmas" or not.
And we are to love and give, not just on Christmas but every day, as His Spirit leads.

(there you have it)
I would like to now add that Christmas can be hard and painful, for some and many ,because there is so much pressure to be "happy". It's "merry" Christmas, not other things. I have experienced this loneliness at times...We're all so extra busy, we barely have time to be a friend. This is tragic. Tragic. All in preparation to give and receive gifts on that day-- Dec 25th, or 24th, if that's your tradition. I've rationalized this at times it by saying to myself... "but I will be extra kind on Christmas, when everyone sees how much I love them through my thoughtful gifts" Gee...only a little self-righteous! (though I've been told I am "thoughtful") That's just my problem, sometimes I just think too much and miss the moment-- What is God saying NOW?
And then there's those of us who have some serious differences with our families of origin, those who have been abandoned or abused, or who have no families. I just don't want to close my heart to those in need. God help me. We're all needy and the Macy's gift card alone, isn't gonna do it.

Stick around. Tomorrow I will post a poem I wrote along these lines... It's already been pretty long.

9 comments:

Kent said...

Manuela, I love the name of your blog. I loved hearing the thoughts of your heart also. I agree whole heartedly. What we are encouraged to do during the Christmas season we should do everyday all year long.
As you know, I was caught up in the running game tonight(for my kids Christmas for their friends) and missed the opportunity to connect with Mike which I have been so looking forward to do. It is nuts.
I'm learning to unplug from many of these things with Father's help. I pray the rest of the family finds their way to place of freedom from this stuff also. I hope you find new ways of doing this also, so you and your family can live in more freedom and enjoy the gift that life is, as it was meant to be lived.

Kent said...

Manuela, check out this article I ran across this morning in an e-mail.

http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=1569

tim said...

mauela. thanks for including me on your list. i appreciate your honesty and, dare I say, thoughtfulness - which is, i guess, another way of saying that I'm glad (and somewhat envious) that you are taking time to slow down and reflect.
It's helpful to read and think through this. somehow we need to balance the materialistic, speed of sound hijack that Advent has become, with the reality that Christians throughout the centuries have been on this 'seasonal calendar' in which we highlight God in Christ in different ways. How to cut through to the heart - Holy Spirit help us!

Manuela said...

Thanks for the comments!

Manuela said...

oops more to say...
I don't know how much I'm really slowing down, but I love to write and I NEED time to reflest on stuff, for sanity's sake. Finding time, with a two year old around can be challenging.

Loren said...

Manuella, thanks for the straightforward speech about christmas. The poem was eye opening for me because I guess I thought christmas could only be miserable for the homeless or something. I suppose that there are many who put on a merry face, but are very sad. You've helped me not be so insensitive, and you've roused my thoughts about God this season. Hopefully I'll be less materialistic because of that. I hope this christmas is markedly merrier for you and your family, you've made ours better already.

looking forward to seeing you and Mike and Mag
Loren

Manuela said...

Thanks Loren! We love y'all...

Debbie said...

Thanks Manuela, I enjoyed it. I had a difficult time this year caring about Christmas. I hate how "it" tries to control my life with "musts" and "shoulds." I don't think men have this difficulty. I shared w/many my disinterest and most people agreed with me. One person was concerned about me as if it was a disfunction I was suffering from and tried to analyze and cure me. So much pressure, "Jesus, take a long nap, there in the manager and we'll spend together after I celebrate your birthday!" Thanks for your honesty. I loved reading everything you wrote.

Manuela said...

Thanks for your comments, Debbie. I think men struggle just as much as we do, but they deal with things differently than women. In general, I think they aren't as in touch with their feelings and need women's help on this...( though it may not be true for everyone). On the other hand, they can help us (women) be more grounded. I've experienced this in my marriage. It's hard work sometimes (understanding the other person), but well worth it.