so, here's the picture. i am playing the role of barista at my local, neighborhood, non-profit, coffee shop on thanksgiving eve when in walks santa, mrs. claus, and their children. seriously. the man was obviously a santa impersonator. (is that the right word for a santa? i mean, if someone dresses up like elvis, aren't they an elvis impersonator? anyway.) so the claus family is hanging out when santa decides it is time to engage the barista, ie, me. as this gentleman is talking to me, the whole time i cannot focus on anything other than the fact that he looks like santa claus. then, (hold for dramatic pause) the conversation turns into a diatribe about how no one really practices true christianity anymore. the irony that these words were coming from the mouth of (a) santa was not lost on me. apparently, real christianity means telling all homosexuals that they are going to straight to hell, and not allowing women to participate in ministry. who knew????? those of you who know me would be proud, i guess. i still have holes in my tongue where my teeth bit straight through. i smiled and nodded and silently prayed for he and his family to leave as soon as was humanly possible. i am very vocal when it comes to these topics. especially, the women in ministry thing. i have in the past wrestled with the words of the apostle paul and in time made my peace. (thank you, dr. coppins. and thank you morna hooker for your illuminations regarding the first century context, but i digress...) anyway, as i was working in the coffee shop attached to my church and thus a representative of the above, i was not at liberty to, how should i put it? engage in lively banter.
my story does have a point. sort of. at least a point that makes sense to me. and it involves another rabbit trail. (i will understand if you decide to stop reading now...) i am not a fan of christmas. really never have been. call me a scrooge, grinch, whatever. i know that so many people look forward to december 25th. i look forward to december 26th. truly i do. i love january 1 even more. but this year, as i have tried so many times before, i have decided to be intentional about embracing AND enjoying the christmas season. i intend to deck the halls, kiss my husband under some mistletoe, and contemplate the meaning of the birth that is celebrated this time of year. i want to celebrate this next few weeks as genuinely and authentically as possible. i have to tell you. no offense meant to mr. claus, but he is not the kind of authentic i am looking for. i am pretty confident that i don't roll with santa's kind of christmas.
i am happily observing that, as i saw happen with thanksgiving, people are focusing on what is really important this year. family. friends. helping others. and being thankful for what we have. not what we 'need'. i don't know about you. (other than the fact that i could stand to be gainfully employed...) i know very few people who really need anything, myself included. i was talking with my aunt pam the other day. we were discussing how hard things have become, financially, for so many. we were discussing the fact that someone i know is losing their house to foreclosure this month. and pam said that even though things were bad, she hated to complain. she was still so very fortunate. she told me that she had never watched her children go hungry, let alone starve to death. she had always been able to buy her children medicine when they were sick. and no one in her family has ever had to sleep on the floor of a mud hut. you get the picture. i am grateful for pam and her perspective. christmas will be over on december 26th. it is my hope that i will carry this perspective of gratitude and an understanding of what i 'need' with me well into 2010 and beyond. a very merry christmas and happy holiday to everyone.