Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

Only in grammar can you be more than perfect. ~ William Safire

We are not, as some suppose, celebrating the O.T festivals as such.  Rather we are using them as the springboard for the N.T revelations that they are in fact are.  So no, not accurate if you know about Hannukah.  Not a lot of things.  However I had always planned to wind up on Christmas Evening as it is Dearest's birthday Boxing Day & in my mind the last 2 covenants belong together because when Christ returns we see all fulfillment!

And now I can look back at what we did & evaluate it in the light of experience.  Did it work?  Was it what we wanted? Was it worth it?  Will we do it again?  And here is where it gets interesting because I was just following what I felt was a nudge from the Holy Spirit & as we discussed, I am so not the doing sort.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is very weak & by yesterday I'd had enough.  We were all pretty tired because we were on the first boat off the island to get to church at all & as is always the way, if you know about these things, we have been under spiritual attack all week.  The cats were psychotic over having being deserted for the morning & it blew 30~35 knots here yesterday so the water was as rough as. 

By now my big thick candles were starting to look more than a little strange & we have wax everywhere because the yellow candle never did want to stay alight & I had decided not to bother but, undiscussed, Dino went hunting a lighter.  And he did the most amazing thing.  He lit the servant candle first ~ as I have done each evening & began to light the candles from right to left ~ as you are suppossed to.  And as he lit each candle he put them in order & named the covenant they represented.  I was so blown away.  And I am so pleased he lit the candles because it created the most amazing sacred space.  Everyone calmed.  Yep, even the cats.

The candle light created the quiet, meditative space I so love & for the fist time all the candles were shining in the dark, their rainbow colours glowing with the reminder of God's promises.  It was so lovely.  And as we talked of the things of God & how there was so much more that we hadn't covered because a vessel can only hold so much at a time & we had already covered so much Dino pointed out that this was something that would translate well to church ~ as it does because I've done it for home church.  Something else I love about God's festivals because they start with the family & transmute easily & naturally into church & community.

What I now know is I need to be far, far better organised ~ & well in advance so that each day flows smoothly.  This can be as big & over the top or as quiet & laid back as you like.  Star would like more hoop~la & pizzaz.  She's like that.  I need to think far more carefully & prayerfully about ways to give other than material gifts.  Dino has given me several ideas here.  Fried foods [because of the oil symbolism] are traditional & though we did pretty well at having something fried most nights, again I need to plan ahead better.  I think I need some clear plastic folders so I can pull my book apart, put each festival with the relevant games, food, ideas & menus into it & work from there.  This could be a life's work!

We also found certain difficulties arose from being out of step with the surrounding culture.  Dino, of course, was still working & we had to accomodate his schedule.  We still had to battle the shops just for our regular food supplies.  We had to hold our tongues a lot as we got plenty of raised eyebrows when we got caught having to explain we'd already done our presents ~ & I was so trying not to have to explain to outsiders what we were doing.  It can so quickly & easily be miunderstood.

What has happened however, is that while it wasn't perfect & while it felt a little strange at times, as Dino ponted out there was so much more meaning to everything!  Dearest was delighted in the end.  He definitely wants to do it this way again ~ as does Dino.  A little more pizzaz & I think even Star will be happy.  She does so love a good fuss!

What is most important to me though is how the Holy Spirit took even such a poor offering & worked with what we could do, anointing & blessing it with the unction of His spirit.  I might have missed it except for a niece of mine who promptly posted what Santa had left for her under the tree Christmas morning.  We were so not there & I am so grateful to be able to help my children celebrate in a way that will bless them in unknown ways for years to come.  It is the sort of legacy that no amount of money can buy, the pearl of great price for which a man sells everything he has.  So, yes, worth every moment.


Ruby said...

Your experiences and the results have been interesting to follow. I HAVE been reading but not making any comment. This seems to have been a spiritually refreshing and enlightening time for you all. May God continue to bless you and yours through out the coming year. Just a thought, but Star may, maybe, might, grow out of the fuss and hoopla stage :-)

Ganeida said...

Ruby: ROFL!!!!Hahahaha. You've met Star. Do you really think that's a possibility?

Spiritually, yes, it has affected everyone differently but it has achieved the purposes for which it was begun.

I'm glad you eventually commented. Feel like I'm talking to myself sometimes ~ which is not unusual but hardly edifying.

Mommy to three said...

No, you are never talking to yourself because I visit almost everyday, although I rarely post. I mentioned to my husband what you are doing and how we may change our Christmas celebration next year. We do Santa Claus but I am trying to edge him out as much as possible. I think next year he'll have to go, the girls will be old enough and I have been regretting that we ever started him. It can be difficult to go against the prevailing culture and 8 years ago I wasn't strong enough or smart enough to do so. I do wish I had been. Also, I have to say it is so funny to see people celebrating Christmas time in summer. Again, just a cultural thing but to us Christmas is in winter, with snow and sledding, hats, mittens, etc. So I really loved the pictures.

Ganeida said...

mommytothree: My dear friend, Seeking, has chastised me for coveting comments. I'm a talker so the banter back & forth is helpful to me ~ so your comment is a huge encouragement to me.

That so late in the day we are making this rather radical change is indicative to me of the change in the surrounding culture ~ which has turned a *Christian* celebration into something else entirely.

I wish I had the knowledge I have now when my kiddos were little because we would never have gone the santa & tree route but live & learn. What does your husband think? Is he on board?

We get a lot of Christmas cards with snow & ice etc which is just so weird because we see none of it! lol

Joluise said...

Ganeida - you never talk to yourself, I have been popping in each day and reading. Just haven't aways had the time or energy to write.

Talking of Christmas cards, I considerably reduced the number I sent this year (from 30 to 6). I was sending them to people who I never talk to throughout the year and then I send a card that doesn't say much - it really is very fake and meaningless. I noticed this year I got far less so perhaps other people have had the same idea.

I also wish I had done things differently - but - can't go back!

Ganeida said...

Jo: you are so sweet. ♥ I know from my map thingy I am getting plenty of readers & I don't expect everyone to always comment ~ especially just now when everyone's very busy with family ~ but when no~one does for days I can get a little funny. Well funnier than usual. ;O

seekingmyLord said...

I am just behind but catching up. It sounds lovely and something that I will be looking into myself.