Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Seasonal Questions to Ponder

Holidays like Christmas cause many of us to pause and reflect. Being one who thinks a bit too much sometimes I thought I’d pass some of my less serious Christmas ponderings your way.
Such as . . .

1) Why is it that when I am looking for a box of plain old peppermint candy canes all I can find are pina colada, cherry, or cinnamon? Yesterday I needed candy canes for a recipe and found a shelf displaying every flavor imaginable EXCEPT peppermint. In fact, the only peppermint candy available in the store was a gigantic $3 bag of Starlight mints. I passed them up and decided to “borrow” some from our Christmas tree and replace them with the strawberry ones that my husband bought by accident. I couldn’t justify buying $3 worth of mints that I planned to smash to bits.

Which brings me to Part 2: why do I insist on replacing candy canes that I take from the tree? Nobody eats them! It feels too much like eating ornaments. After the tree comes down nobody is in the mood for sucking on candy canes because it’s no longer Christmas. Still I can’t bring myself to toss them with the wrapping paper and squashed boxes. That’s wasting and what about all those starving children who never get candy canes and would love to have ours? So instead of wasting right away I put them in the snack cupboard to be ignored until next year when I can toss them without guilt because “those candy canes are a year old!” It makes no sense.

Okay, on to deeper questions:

2) How did the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” even become a hit? I’m trying to picture the record producer who discovered that particular performer. Did he find him singing away in a club and say, “Man, you’re talented. That voice—it’s amazing. And those lyrics! What a powerful story they tell. You’re gonna be a star.” What happened there?

3) Why is it that I never tire of torturing my husband and oldest son with the following tree-decorating tradition?
As soon as I hang our silver bell ornament I give it a jingle and announce to my teenage son, “Listen, Christian, an angel just got his wings.” I get eye rolls and groans every time. Nathan thinks it’s hilarious but he’s five. It won’t last long. Yet I must do it. It’s not Christmas until I’ve jingled the bell and said that ridiculous line that is so biblically false. Why not something a bit more . . . I don’t know . . . a bit more Christian like telling the story of the candy cane as we hang them or sharing the spiritual significance of tree garland (certainly there is one)?

4) Why are Russian tea cakes always on our menu when we aren’t Russian? One of these days my kids will want to know and I won’t have an answer. Maybe it’s the festive snowball appearance or the fact that they require five ingredients and very little effort but look like I slaved away to make something that looked so seasonally appropriate. All I know is I’m not allowed at my parents’ family gathering without them.

5) Where did the little drummer boy come in? Did he arrive with the shepherd or the wise men?

6) I know the story behind Santa but what warped individual thought up reindeer and elves? Scarier still, how is it that, at some point most of us fell for it as kids? And why is it that we all wanted such a creepy story to be true? Seriously, if I even saw a fat guy peering through my window so he could see me while sleeping, and certainly if I saw him diving down my chimney, I’d call the police, presents or no presents.

7) Why does someone always get sick at Christmas? I’m currently recovering from a kidney infection, my son from a second bout with strep throat and my husband from that lovely cold/cough combo. I’m relieved in a way because it means we’ll be healthy for the big day. But if nobody had been to the doctor with something by now I’d be worried about what awaited us next week. If we have a healthy Christmas season I thank God but I also dread what the New Year will bring. I must admit that when Christmas rolls around I think, oh boy, what illness will it be this year? But why can’t everyone get sick on Groundhogs’ Day instead?

8) Finally, why is it that no matter how hard I try, no matter how determined I am to do otherwise, I always lose perspective at some point. On December 1 I vow to enjoy the season and remember Who it is about. By mid-month I am stressed out, up to my eyeballs in lists, behind on the shopping that I’d planned to do less of, and yes, secretly wondering what I’ll get. Perspective returns on Christmas Eve when I attend the evening candlelight service. I walk away wishing I’d paid more attention to Jesus before that night . . . taken more time to reflect and remember why He came. Now that I’m aware of it I’m trying to make a daily discipline of focusing on Christ at some point. Still, I could do more of it.

So what are your Christmas questions, funny or serious? I’d love to hear them.

Who thought up those fruit flavored candy canes anyway?

Merry Christmas!

(cross posted on Girls God and the Good Life)


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