Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

You remember that "life is like a spiral" thing?
Well I kinda felt that more so today.
Every year my family does more or less the same thing, but every year is a bit changed.
We always have a cheese fondue for dinner and then a chocolate fondue for dessert. Last year my mom couldn't help make it because she had just had surgery.
We always open "presents" after supper. This is the first year that my older sister hasn't been home to open them with us, and instead my one brother's girlfriend was here.
Everyone listens to a story (not necessarily Christmassy) read by my dad. This is the first year my niece was there to distract all of us by being cute.

The traditions repeat themselves but our lives change, so the feelings and memories of each repetition are different.

I went to a Christmas eve service with my friend Steph. It's the first time that I can remember being to one. It was at a church I'd never been to before in St. Jacobs. The speaker guy (not sure whether he was the minister or not) was young. He looked like he should be in high school. He reminded me sooo much of the young priest guy in the movie "Chocolat" (which is lovely). And there were a couple of highlighting moments for Steph and I, like the ill-tempoed pianist and the paper communion dealies. They were seriously like paper. And then almost lighting each other on fire because they had the brilliant idea of giving us candles....

There are some bits, though, that I realized I like about religion. I like the stained glass windows. I like the candles that get lit and the shiny silver dishes pompously holding the bread. I like the idea of people standing together smiling. I like the feeling of singing as a body, and listening to people harmonize, even though my own voice is a pathetic little squeak. I like organs playing in empty auditoriums, and chants filling a cathedral until it seems like there is too much sound for that space, and the roof must fly off or the windows shatter to let it out into the open. I like all that.
The dislikes I have lie deeper. I dislike the people that stand together smiling and with their smiles they disguise hate and prejudice. I dislike the fact that people may not feel like they have the right to touch the shiny silver dishes. I dislike that religion, from the outside, looks so clean and neat and shiny, and the fact is that it's people play-acting, making pretty pictures, and then ignoring the dirt and passion that makes the earth alive.

I'm not exactly sure what I mean, but I'm pretty certain that the whole "peace on earth" isn't meant to be a passive blessing or a nice warming thought. The church should really be proactive about peace. We've (we = churchy people)backed ourselves into one corner and we, from there, preach that if everyone just was happy with their own little corner life would be fine, and there would be peace. But that's not gonna happen. We need to give someone else our spot so that peace can start. It doesn't matter if we don't have a place. Wasn't there a theory behind all this religion that the earth isn't our home anyway?

So yah. Merry Christmas.

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