Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas is coming

Being in California during this season is a little strange to me. When I was in Claremont, it was different because I was always so busy that nothing around seemed to matter. Now that I have more time to notice things, it seems that Christmas in California lacks something. I find it funny that people can call this area home (I was telling this to someone at work today who replied, "I find it funny that you call Hawaii home"). That totally makes sense. But California seems like this place where people are just kinda hanging out. Maybe I think that because I'm just hanging out, but I don't know if I could ever make my home here.

So I've been feeling a little disillusioned about Christmas this year anyway. The whole idea of being pressured to buy people things that they want, and not being able to figure it out so you just get them something meaningless seems, hmm, meaningless. And I don't know the area so I don't know the stores, where to go for anything. At home you can go to Pearlridge and know what you're going to find there. I feel like I use Yahoo! yellowpages like a madwoman and it's getting a little tiring. And everything's so amazingly crowded and crazy.

Not being surrounded by Christian community makes it hard too. I miss things like Thanksgiving praise and Christmas fellowship meetings. At the same time, through this experience, I feel like I can relate with Jesus in his entrance into a world that didn't understand him, that scorned him. Not that I'm being scorned in any way, just feeling a little homeless/homesick. Jesus really left his home and "pitched his tent" with us. So that we could have a high priest who is familiar with our pains and our trials (I AM actually learning something from Hebrews). Anyway, more to come later. Been busy lately.

7 comments:

Philip said...

Don't worry about finding the perfect gift for me Michelle. You don't have to give me anything.

I would probably feel the same way about finding the right stores in Santa Barbara except I pretty much just get things online anyway.

I'm glad that you are finding more ways to relate to Jesus. I think you may have hit the real meaning of the season.

-Philip

jon said...

After I talked to you about this a few days ago, I was talking to someone else who mentioned that her family doesn't do the whole gift thing. Then she mentioned the "alternative Christmas" they have at Our Lady of the Assumption, where you can buy something for a poorer person and then give that gift in the name of someone else. That's really cool, but the words "alternative Christmas" also made me think of how my church has Christmas on January 6th/7th, cause we're on the old calender. I realized that I'm really blessed by that - December 25th can be the family/societal holiday (with plenty of extra reminders to make it a nice spiritual time), and then I have my time free to really focus on Christ. Not everyone has the same date option that I do, but we can still separate in our hearts - one "holiday season" for sharing gifts and being with family and friends, and then Christmas for the coming of our Lord.

mishi said...

I was actually talking to Rosey about that last week and told her that she was pretty lucky (I guess lucky's not the right word) to have 2 different dates to celebrate Christmas so that it could be more separated. When I think about it more though, I don't know if I would like it that way. I think it's kinda cool to have everything all mixed together, kinda like the whole experience of Christmas. You get out if it what you can. God works through it all. I guess that's just a different perspective.

jon said...

the "whole Christmas experience" isn't something I'm very happy about at all. Christmas is supposed to be about Christ coming to be with us, and so much other stuff around Christmas obsures that fact. In the Oregonian there was this article about people who celebrate the Winter Solstice instead of Christmas, and there were multiple comments relating to "it's just so commercial, I didn't want my kids influenced by that". The idea that Christmas has become a bad influence, a commercially driven thing. That really really bothers me.

mishi said...

You're right that what it's turned into isn't good, but I think I learn so much by going through it, I think even though it's not focused on Christ's coming, as a Christian, it shows me more about who Christ is that He came to save people in this crappy place.

Philip said...

The American Christmas is certainly misses the mark by a long shot, but I don't think that's a reason for Christians to flee from Christmas. If anything, it should mean that we need to be more involved in our culture around Christmas. Not in the sense of following what America does, but rather leading out in a different direction. We should be the salt that helps bring out the true flavor of Christmas. Also, when you return to school, work, or wherever else after Christmas, and someone pops the question "How was your Christmas?" use it as an opportunity to share your faith. What better Christmas gift could you give someone than to help them understand the true importance of Christmas?

rhulett said...

i'm a missionary from the Philippines. I"m actually typing this while here in my home in the philippines. im only 17 but the Lord has taught me great lessons. If you're wondering how i got on to your site, i jsut typed in random peoples and i got to this one...i typed in "iwannadance" cuz well i do and i go to this one :) and i'm happy i did, i like reading the conversations, it's also curious that when i go back to the states that i actually go back to California...who knows...maybe i know you guys or something? :) for sure the american christmas is no longer the 'christmas' that we christians would like. I'm not saying santa clause is evil but i sure wouldn't mind if he was out of the picture. However to do the good ol st. nick who actually gave out presents way to go to him. There are a million lessons that if i had grown up in California and very possibly anywhere else in the States, that i would not have learned. But being here amongst the poor filipinos i've learned many many valuable lessons. (on lesson here is from a friend i know, Fredy, he used to run a very small store (store meaing a mud driveway and few chip bags and a few crackers to sell) recently a church gave him money and he bought new merchandise. that night all that he bought and had before was stolen. dad told him that he must be the most unlucky man alive. He didn't even stop and say "yes" or "maybe so" he just said "i only have die physically and not spiritually, so i'm the lucky one not the unlucky one...not to slap you on the cheek, but the next time you think about complaining...remember that there are people like this in the world). the bring this back to a christmas lesson i learned here, i came back from a part today with some filipinos. They were kind enough to let me on the cooking so i could learn my favorite meal. while the party was going on we were asking for things that we're thankful for. again i dont want to slap down americans, im one of them, but i do what to share with you the spirit of these christian filipinos that i have come to love. I know that in america we say thank you for cameras and cars, for cookies and dinners, for parties and presents, and indeed it's good to give thanks to the Lord for all these blessings. There's nothing wrong in getting those things or enjoying them, God gave them as blessings. But i simply love the spirit here. The thanks is for "thank you God for supplying us with water" and "thank you God that this year, no body got sick" and "thank you that you've provided us with what we need". I gladly, and humbly carry these lessons with me and when i return to the states i indeed plan on sharing with people who complain that they have nothign to complain about. And just again to cover my back im not saying anyone who posted a comment on here complained at all...i just wanted to share with you a christmas lesson i enjoyed. This lesson didn't make me feel bad at all...it made me feel so happy. I thank God so much for these great peopel that teach me so much. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and may God bless you.