Friday, December 26, 2008

Jesus and John Wayne

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Mine was quiet. The wife is in Montana and what's left of my family is in Oregon, so it was just me, my boy and the animals.

My heater crapped out a while ago so it's pretty damn cold, we've figured out the insulation on the house is pretty good, but it's working in reverse. It's colder inside than it is outside. I was going to make a fire, I have a really cool brick mantled fireplace that if you get those bricks heated up, the heat will last radiate for two days...but my boy and his friends burned all my firewood in a little fire pot in the backyard over the summer.

Due to covering a vacation an extra shift and two holidays, that I didn't work for a change (good paycheck 40 hours OT), I've got the repairman coming Tuesday to fix it.

Which brings me to "Jesus and John Wayne". I don't do well in the cold, and it's been freezing, so Christmas was quick this year, just Merry Christmas and Chris ran off to his friends house that have heat, and I jumped back into bed with a big comforter and the dog and cat. AMC was running a John Wayne marathon, so I just let that run in the background because I love those movies, but have seen them hundreds of times and would let my mind drift onto the meaning of the day.

I was able to recall all those Christmas' past, the gatherings at relative's houses on Christmas Eve. My Dad's side of the family was spread all over hell and gone, so we didn't gather as a clan on his side, and my Mom's side was more like a formal dinner party.

But way, way back, we had two other Christmas parties that were more like what Christmas should be.

One was my parents circle of friends from the different places they worked over the years. Lots of kids, lot's of drinking (by the adults), lot's of laughter.

The other Christmas gathering, that I remember most fondly was given every year by close friends of my parents, "Uncle Bob" and "Tante Rae". Bob worked with my Dad from right after the war in aerospace, and he had married Rae who was quite a bit older than him and had a grown child, but Rae loved children and every year would have a gathering of her friends kids. This was a party for the kids.

It was Christmas carols and stories. Sugar cookies and Pfeffernüsse. Angel chimes and love.

Over the years the real celebration of the day has waxed and waned for me. I go from despising the commercialism and giving up on the holiday, to trying to reach back and reclaim Tante Rae's message of what a special day this is and you should enjoy it for it's own sake It is so much more than "us".

I'll leave with this, not a Christmas song, per se, but one of my favorites and fitting.

Celtic Woman - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (live)

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