Saturday, December 25, 2010


Mulling a Christmas Whine, Singing Instead

I bought the book pictured here for a four-year-old in my life. It's a great book, and I knew that his mama would enjoy it as much as he would. When you are very small, the gifts come in bright paper and are parked under a glittering tree. You must feel that you are being loved as much as your rival, your sibling, with the materialistic attesting to that. Whew!

There isn't a lot of holiday drama at our house. This year we have resisted the regular Christmas preparations, save the few gifts to our faraway near and dear. We don't have a tree; our aging dog now has two beds in the living room to accommodate the fluctuations in her bodily aches and pains. There simply isn't room for anything else, unless we block access to the bird feeder. In Vermont it gets cold, and I'm of the mind that we're all in this together, so no blocking the way to replenishing the bird feeder.
It's always well stocked.

I am about to go upstairs and finish the shirt I've made for Spousie. We haven't done much about gifts this year, and it's fine. We did splurge on a Jesus toaster for our best friends here, two theologians, who can appreciate the gifts of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Toast. We dined with them last night, then went off to the church I joined this year for a carol-filled service. Lovely! They are the friends I have longed for here--it took over a decade to find friends we could cherish as we do these.

This afternoon Spousie and I will initiate ourselves into a tradition clearly Mexican: we will learn to make tamales. We love to cook together and haven't done enough of it lately, so this initiative makes great sense.

In church last night I found myself contemplating the Christmas story with my usual skepticism. I could visualize Mary, approached by an angel about the sacred honor bestowed upon her saying, "Yeah, right" when told how she would conceive without 'knowing' a man. I could wonder how all the fuss made by the heavenly hosts the night of the dear savior's birth could be followed by... well, nothing more than a little adolescent rebellion... for about 30 years before the story would pick up and intensify again.

It didn't matter, really. What has always mattered to me are the teachings of Jesus and little, if any, of the folderol surrounding him and embraced and distorted by Republicans and other sanctified scoundrels.
What has mattered to me is the pulsing of those teachings into our slow-growing consciousnesses, something called hope that defies the despair of any given moment, something that persists, irrationally, bringing us to a better version of ourselves than the one before. Reinhold Niebuhr, Jimmy Carter's favorite theologian, puts it this way:

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.”

So from our tree-less home, I offer you the gratitude I have come to know, extend the
blessings bestowed on me to you.

Merry Christmas from Vermont.

Hi Lulu Maude,
I wish we could meet too. I know we'd love each other. I so admire your juicy humor and biting commentary, and think your blog is fantastic. We have a lovely guest room in Santa Cruz if you and Spousie ever feel the urge for a visit. Seriously!
Happy Holidays,
Lotsa luck on the tamales. Mama used to rope us into the assembly line about every 5 years when we'd forget how labor intensive it was.
Hint: to test one out before the pressure cooker does it's thing, nuke one and taste it. If you have a microwave, that is.
loverly post, lulu maude. happy holidays to you and spousie and the dog and the birds.
Thanks Ms. Lulu, Happy Christmas to you-all!
Hello Vermont! Happy Holidays back at cha!
It is always nice to take the holiday hype down several notches.
Just hanging out, sipping something good & visiting w friends & family- very nice.

We get a little festive-- our 22 year old is back from Ohio so we have a tree & some lights.... skip the ornaments. Cooked a nice spread for dinner to enjoy a healthy feast together.

We are kind of focused on helping him w getting settled back into college. Some parental prodding get the "kid" to the dentist-- he will beat the clock to use 2010 dental maxxing out & hit it again in Jan for getting the rest of it taken care of maxxing out 2011 insurance.
Then there is the moving of the garage half full of things stored, back into student housing.
Oh my! This promises to be a busy week.
That's about all the festivity I can take.

We are sooooooo ready for a new year.
Hello Miss Lulu,
You have a great way with words and concepts that add much to my thinking. Happy, healthy New Year to you, Spousie and Mattie! See you across our desks.
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