Saturday, December 10, 2005

Right in front of us & the Saturday Six

Jillian and I spent the day in our pajamas, relaxing. We felt we needed a 'get away' after a week of travel, family drama and snow.

Sometimes, when we plan these Sabbath days we arrange everything ahead of time: activities, books to read, meals to make and Saturday morning always comes with great anticipation and happiness.

There are stumbling blocks in our lives right now, however, and I cannot shake the feeling that in all our rushing this past week, we missed an opportunity. I don't know what it is, and I don't know if it actually happened, but I feel that it did.

Now, I value rest as much as the next person, always trying to find quiet time for regenerating and recuperating, but today we ignored lurking shadows. If only they had names and faces.

Today's Gospel, from Matthew 17: 9-13 reads:

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.  So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

This passage speaks to me because the "Holiday Season", with all its bustle, constantly driving us forward, whipping at our heels to shop, buy, party, laugh, sing, dance, go, go, go, go, race toward new years, hides what we really should see. It creates shadows where we should find light. 

Now is a time of preparation, reflection, and quiet, not noise and distraction. Just a few weeks ago, we gave thanks for another year and readied ourselves for winter, a time of ending and beginning. Yet, here we are still blind to the gift we really have in front of us, a chance to stop and recognize that this season is an expression of our appreciation and love for others.

I feel the shadows creeping in have compelled me to ignore truth and take stock in the glitter and glamour of oversight. When I am in the thick of holiday traffic, long lines and crying children am I feeling love and thanksgiving, or frustration, irritation and anxiety?

Do those I love suffer because I shut out what should be done and instead replaced it with whatever I pleased?

I think, perhaps, it is time to stop, think, and ask those around me what has already rushed by and what needs to be prepared for a peaceful end and beginning to a new year.

I am not sure.


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The Saturday Six - From Patrick, now located at Patrick's Weekender (he's a great guy - check out his journal!):

1. You're producing a school program for the holidays and you learn that there will be major objections if you include in your musical selections the traditional Christmas hymns that reference the "true meaning of Christmas." Assuming that there are secular tunes (like "Frosty the Snowman") already included in the program, what do you do with the hymns? Do you allow them to go as is, do you use the melody and rewrite the words, do you include as many pieces of music from other religions as possible, or do you remove all but the secular songs?

This is a dangerous topic, Patrick. I'll remove Christmas from a Christmas pageant when Jews remove Menorah from Hanukkah. If they change the Festival of Lights to a Holiday Festival of Illumination, and they make the Menorah a Holiday Candelabra, then I'll pull the songs and put up the Holiday Tree. Why is it that in our desire to not offend others, we have to offend Christians?

2. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done at this point? When do you expect to have it finished if you haven't already finished?

NONE :) Tomorrow - all online, baby!

3. What was your favorite board game to play as a kid? Is it still your favorite now?

Good question! I'm going with the Game of Life...and it's been replaced by Trivial Pursuit/Cranium

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What famous artist should paint your portrait?

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali should paint your portrait. You love to think about the world in a different way then everyone else. You are very ambitious, and you like strange things. You are curious about everything and love to learn.

Take this quiz at

5. How accurate is this quiz's description of you?

Somewhat, though I don't feel I'm quite THAT strange. Others may disagree ;)

6. If you could go back in time and have one more picture taken with a deceased loved one, who would you select and why?

My father's father...because I never met him.