Saturday, December 27, 2014

On Advent and Christmas Festivities

Time really does fly, man. I guess the last time I popped my little head in here and made an update, we had just finished celebrating autumn Ember Days. At present, it's the weekend after Christmas and I'm letting the dust settled a little bit before getting ready to ring in 2015. I wanted to make sure I got in at least one more post before the end of the year, so here I am.

These days, my Christmases are about something different than they used to be. Like it or not, they used to be all about materialism in one way or another. Growing up, Christmas wasn't about religion or even gratitude really. It was about presents and that was about it. Christmas wasn't even a day when we shared a big dinner as a family or anything. Things really didn't improve much when I grew up and wound up chained to a cash register every holiday season thanks to my crappy retail job. 

Holiday time quickly morphed into something I downright dreaded. Like a lot of people, I didn't feel like I had much to celebrate at Christmas time, so that was usually the time of year I felt the most depressed. The idea of presents and such had long ago ceased to mean much to me. I absolutely hated shopping, as well as my job. I felt like as I'd grown older, I no longer related to my family. I was married to a stuffy vegetarian that I didn't love.

These days, Christmas is a lot different though. I work for myself, so I get to make my own rules. There's not a cash register in sight. I get to take time off the way I should instead of waiting on a bunch of ingrates so I can afford to buy a bunch of presents for people that probably won't even appreciate them. I'm with someone I love and sincerely enjoy spending time with. I also have my repaired and growing relationship with God to celebrate. All of that helps give the holidays a level of meaning that actually translates properly as far as my adult life and encompasses the values I have at this age.

That said, we celebrated Advent, as well as winter Ember Days. We did our own version of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. (I made baked cod, roasted squash, and spinach-cheese tortellini and called it "Feast of the One Fish" since it was just the two of us eating it.) Then the next day, I roasted a delicious duck, as that's become a holiday favorite -- a tradition Seth and I selected and perpetuated because it's what we enjoyed. I completed a few Advent-themed Bible reading plans as well. Of course we watched plenty of Christmas movies and just plain celebrated being together and being grateful for some of the positive things we do have in our lives. 

We didn't exchange presents or run around shopping because we didn't really want to. For us, a celebration is more about feasting, togetherness, and taking a little bit of a time out from work and stress in general. If it's stressful or about the wrong things, I leave it out of my Christmas these days. I finally feel like I've made the season my own and that it actually feels something like people tell me it ought to. I'm incredibly happy about that. I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of the Christmas season before finding out what the New Year has to offer.