my favorite day isnt dec 25th.  since i grew up i havent really celebrated  that day like every one else. i dont get into putting all this stuff up around the house that i have to keep putting back up after the cats rearrange it, and then have to take down anyway and store somewhere. i dont feel the need to put a decorated tree in my living room, eat certain foods, or waer certain colors or designs.
i grew up as an only child in a catholic home made of me, my mom, and my grandma. christmas was a fun time for me, because my mom wasnt as depressed, and we were all preoccupied with the business of celebrating. we always went to lloyd center in portland, oregon, where we lived. lloyd center was the first mall the northwest ever had. we shopped, we went to mannings cafeteria, we went ice skating in the rink in the center of the mall (well i went skating, mom and gramma watched). we always went to see the lights competition on certain streets somewhere in portland where the houses on one street went all out to compete with each other, and the whole street (both sides) went all out to compete with other streets. it was grand. we always went to midnight mass where the highlight was when they brought out the baby Jesus statue to the manger scene. and of course, no matter how late were up, come morning i always woke everybody early because of the multitude of presents under the tree (the same old silver tree that we always put up every year, with the same ornaments, the same garland, and the same rotating colored disk that a light showed thru to light the tree, which after decorating we always went out into the front yard to see how it looked),
i never realized how routine and repititious we were.
when mom remarried, the only thing that didnt change that much was christmas.
 
after i moved out on my own, and after several turbulent years, and –  funny how things work out – right after a rather dismal christmas, i found myself invited to a Bible study at a house where several Christians lived, with dinner first. i wasnt doing too well at the time, so it seemed like a good idea. it was. i came back the next night, and after dinner they took me to a different house where another Bible study was. i was very taken with these people. they didnt seem to notice i was dressed differently, that my hair was a ragged mess, that i wore mexican sandals in the winter because that was my only pair of shoes at the time. they just accepted me. they opened the study with prayer, and even tho as a former catholic i knew who God was, i never knew He would involve Himself in a prayer meeting, or a Bible study. i never knew people who seemed to know Him, and talked to Him like he was right there listening. i was moved by this, and i opened my heart and asked God to include me in this. at that moment i felt what seemed like a bolt of lightening go thru me. it didnt hurt, it didnt knock me down. but it did fill me with … how can i possibly express it? light? life? Himself?
 
that encounter changed me forever. but thats another blog. this one is about a day i celebrate. its my own day. its jan 2nd. thats the day i met the Lord, and the day i became His and He became mine. thats the day i was really born.
 
so all the fooferah that everyone else puts into there day of dec 25th, its ok. i still enjoy the lights on the houses. i wish it was a winter tradition, not limited to december. so many people think winter is dreary and gloomy, wouldnt pretty lights on the houses at night all winter long be a grand way to chase the gloom away? or to adorn an already beautful season? i still like eggnog…alot! can only get it between thanksgiving and christmas. unless i make it. but mine comes out as bad as my gramma’s did, all thin and lumpy. gag. i still like ‘oh holy night’ and i sing it all year. loudly. and i will always like giving, and getting, gifts in pretty packages. duh. who doesnt? and giving to strangers and little kids who have less than i do is the surest way to increase. God loves a cheerful giver! how do i know? He blesse me (bless means to empower) to give more. you know, the pipe that brings water also gets wet.
but the day that really gets me will always be jan 2nd. after all the buildup of christmas is over, and all the commercial hype, and all the preparation all month long for one morning of one day a year, and all the other mix of pagan and christian symbols lose their gloss, i will still have jan 2nd… the day my life started over.
no, the day my life started.
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