It is Christmas morning.
Joy is in Vermont with Heather and the boys. Mitchell is in Clovis, NM. The rest of the family is in UT.
The snow is lightly falling, adding to the pines’ now substantial flocked frock. Beautiful.
Break-fast concluded the 40th day of this extended sequence of fasts.
I do not feel alone, for the Father’s Spirit is with me. Blessed be the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Cooked a package of frozen, home style noodles in just-sufficient water. Once supple, added a generous portion of Costco mixed, stir-fry vegetables, cooked till thawed. Added 2 TBS chicken bouillon and some lemon pepper. Added a tablespoon of butter, a cup (or so) of rice milk, and 1/2 lb of diced turkey left over from Thanksgiving.
Now this may seem like an odd breakfast for Christmas morning, but this isn’t a traditional Christmas. Frankly, while hungry, I didn’t feel like spending any time cooking breakfast. My mother used to make chicken noodle soup from scratch. It was one of my favorites, though I didn’t know it at the time. The house is cold, and feels colder looking out through the windows. It was precisely what was needed.
People have been quite generous this season. It has been very festive, with lots of wishes for Merry This, and Happy That, with lots of good will, and kindness. Various goodies have been gifted, including a home-made (not box type), large, chocolate cake. All of these were turned around and gifted to others. There have been many invites to meals and parties. These were declined as no-one wants a person who is fasting staring at them while they gorge themselves with things they know are — well, a compelling substitute for soul food. :- ) Then there are the extensive invites to Chanukah celebrations. Same issues.
This fast differs from the prior. The last one was my idea: a serious attempt at expressing gratitude.
Waking up from coma is disorienting. We now understand that the Lord gave Israel an entire calendar of festivals that command gathering and celebration. These remind all of the gifts and blessings He provided and continues to provide. These are beautiful and flocked with God-gifted symbolism, pointing to the coming of the Messiah. Now, they point back to the first coming of Messiah, and point forward to the second.
Juxtaposed with all this are the Christmas traditions, a blend of beautiful symbols, rather ugly pagan traditions, and lots of chiffon. In primary sharing time last week, we learned about the key the Innkeeper gave to Joseph to unlock the barn; we all received our own keys in remembrance. Over many weeks, this question recurs: how many deer droppings does it take before a banana split become unpalatable? The story of the birth of Christ is amazing; why do we need to amend and embellish? If these are not true, how can they add to faith? Later today I’ll probably hear the children sing about the Savior being born in the cold of winter.
Can you imagine sharing that perspective during a Christmas gathering? Yeah Eeyore, you need to come back again next year!
For so many years we have looked forward to, and enjoyed many marvelous experiences at Christmas-time. We loved making all those custom decorated ginger bread men (e.g., doctors, builders, office workers) and women (e.g., doctors, dancers, moms) and animals (e.g., sharks, turtles) and…. Now, they remind Joy and I of the pagan child sacrifices tied to winter solstice. EEYORE! Why go on. The list is seemingly endless. More droppings anyone?
What are we doing here? Are we throwing out all of what is good because it isn’t perfect? If this is a substitute for what God wants…. Well, what does He want, exactly? The Messianic Jews have their own embellishments added to those festivals and celebrations outlined in scripture. How much embellishment does it take to turn that which is holy into something contemptible? If embellishment is sin, and the Lord cannot look on sin with any degree of allowance… (Alma 45:16)? Does He allow/excuse editorial license alongside putting fences around the law? Can He look past the sin and consider only the righteous desires of the heart (Alma 18:32; Heb 4:12)?
So, I sit here wondering, pondering, praying. Having chosen to leave the bliss of ignorance behind, having prayed to have our iniquities and unbeliefs made known to us, must we not stand apart from our childish perspectives (1 Cor 13:11)? If we return our gaze longingly towards the bliss we once had, the bliss we see in the lives of others, are we as he who put his hand to the plough and looked back (Luke 9:62)?
Could the answer be so seemingly harsh?
Thus I sit here with the Father; His Spirit flocks and frocks my soul. It is beautiful. Perhaps that is the only answer that matters. For today, it is enough.
Praise God. Shabbot Shalom!