Friday, December 16, 2011

The Heretic

I am posting early because I will be taking a break from blogging until January. My Christmas break starts today. I am going to be sleeping late, spending tons of time with family and friends and resting (after I give the house a scrub today).

The parting shot for 2011 from old dove is this: I am a Christmas cultural Heretic.

I quietly refuse to do the "elf on the shelf". Yes, you heard me right. He does not perch anywhere in my home, beadily watching my children to ensure their good behavior. He does not move about my home to keep them on their toes, or engage in cute antics during the night. He will not lose all his "magic" because someone touched him. Our door is firmly locked to the fellow.

Now on trend Mom's know that this elfin critter is essential to true holiday "magic". Also reindeer food, north pole parties and various other mystical things.

Now for the really deep dark confession.

WE DON'T DO SANTA. Dun, Dun, Dun!

Yes, now you are picturing my children in a dark vast landscape of gray, peeking from the bleak windows of a ramshackle black Victorian right?

Here's my deal. When it comes to holiday "magic" if by magic you mean wonder, awe, surprise, memories, joy, etc...I am  totally with you. We have many traditions designed to inspire those: Red and Green Friday after Thanksgiving when we decorate the house and each child gets a new surprise ornament, Our advent calendar filled with new different candies each day and the rule that anyone caught peaking will forfeit his or her candy to their sibling, Reading/singing the twelve days of Christmas for all 12 days prior to Christmas (the book does each day in cookies which we love), caroling to neighbors who don't get out much, making a shoe box gift for a needy child where my kids pick all the gifts, Christmas programs at church and school, night drives to see the lights, trips to a local store that has a Christmas carousel and Christmas morning opening gifts we give each other to celebrate the birth of Christ.

They seem pretty sparkly eyed and excited to me.

If you also mean by magic- setting up colossal expectations that depend on twisting the truth into real life fairy tales then, you lost me.

The truth can be just as much fun.
Why are we not happy with the truth and doubt it's good enough? Imagination and creativity are plenty useful in real life.

St. Nick- (a great guy, who does inspire me to give gifts at the holidays) is someone my kids know of historically. They are taught to respect each families choice and never force what they know on another child. They have done it pretty well, I think.

A child with realistic expectations, room for imagination, and lots of love is a blessed child.
A child who will have to face life realizing that nothing will ever match up with the dreams of childhood, has an up hill climb. It's not the tradition of Santa that will do that, it's parents who mistakenly believe that any challenge or disappointment is bad.

I won't rat out your Santa if you don't call me the Grinch ;).

No matter how you celebrate it, I sincerely hope Christ is more real and meaningful to you this year than ever. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Worth it

Survived Nutcracker weekend. Beautiful to see, long to be a stage mom for.

As the above picture illustrates: worth it.

Thought about something a friend said a week or two ago.
She is seeing the whole, "relationship with Jesus" thing through the eyes of someone who is new to all of it.
Sometimes she says the most profound things. I think it's because she's still childlike in her faith- hope she stays that way!

She is someone who has struggled with seeking relief in alcohol in the past. She said recently she went to a party and when she reached for a second glass she felt the tug of conviction. The sure sensation that this was not a wise choice. She said it made her heart jump a little to realize the Holy Spirit was right there with her and she was so happy.

I surely felt that same tug when she said that. How did I view conviction?

Usually I feel like a failure when I feel conviction. I feel like that loser that still needs her hand slapped after years of knowing better.

Truth is, my heart jumped a little at her view. Conviction means He's here, right here, right in this body with me. Wow! 

Looking for a sign, looking for that little something to carry you on? Conviction means, He is right there with you, loving you, caring for you, pleading with you to trust Him.

Proverbs 3:12
"For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights."

So please take my friend's outlook and see the good in all that God does and how greatly it outweighs the wrong that we do. God help me to joyfully learn from and receive it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

So you screamed yourself hoarse?

This weekend we went to the local Renaissance festival. My kids really enjoy the children's theater there because you can get on stage and act out roles.

The catch is you have to scream the loudest to get the role.

Not a problem for my family.
Last year both my son and my daughter out screamed teenagers to easily win the lead roles.

This year my son decided to lay low but my daughter was determined to have a part and old Dad decided he should get in on the act.

Dad bellowed the loudest bad guy growl he could muster, resulting in His being cast as the evil sheriff of Nottingham.

Failing to secure the Maid Marion or Nun role, my daughter proceeded to win the Little John role.

Let's just say nothing says little John like my daughter in a muscle vest.

My husband proceeded to scream/ roar his heart out for the whole play. He turned twelve shade of red and proved that he does nothing half hearted.

He literally has no voice two days later. A big 6ft 3" guy whispering and squeaking like a school girl.

Sometimes in life I feel like that, I have gotten so invested in something I am left totally drained. I do that with so many situations you would think I believe the intensity of my desire was what would transform lives and make changes.

News flash- it isn't. I need to chill and rest in the knowledge that God knows how deeply I want to see certain things happen. In my case it's to see His name lifted high and glorified in our community.

I need to rest in His mastery of the universe and the human heart or I will end up all stretched out of shape like my hubby's vocal chords.