An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
A Yearning for Advent Amidst a Billion Speeding UPS Trucks (Part 1)
I've noticed a couple of things lately. One is, not surprisingly, the rampant materialism of this season and the other is the intense desire to escape it (and uncertainty in how to do so).
Of course we all see the materialism on TV and what not, but I've been seeing and hearing of it more personally. A number of kids, the parents of whom I am acquainted with, are going to have truck loads dumped upon them on December 25. In at least one case I've heard the list that mom - with faked lamentation - runs down as if to garner sympathy for the amount of work it represents to her...sort of like the infamous "honey do" list. It's a "Mommy or Daddy do" list. Indeed, they do have their work cut out for them..."Thank god for the internet" I am told...sounds like a line for the newest Hallmark seasonal greeting card.
Come Christmas morning I can imagine the 45 minutes of furious ripping, tearing, and delightful shrieking of joy...and then the kiddies skip off to play the latest $65.00 Nintendo game while dad spends a couple of hours cleaning up the newly established living room landfill.
Now, I'll admit, it's much easier to by cynical and judgmental about materialism this season when: 1) it is discerned in others and 2)you yourself are poor (comparatively at least). A dangerous opportunity to be a judgmental prig.
However, it is difficult when the previously mentioned reading of the list is FINALLY concluded and then you are asked to produce your own "mommy or daddy do" list. Well...you can either come off as being a desperate charity case (no, actually, we won't be having dog food for Christmas dinner) or you come off as being a judgmental prude in spinning the story to sound like you are going Christmas "lite" on purpose.
Of course the truth is somewhere in between and I dare not say what our Christmas would be like if I'd won the lottery last week or if they paid infectious disease researches REALLY good money or (if truth be told) we managed our funds more frugally - working on that. But, the theme this year will decidedly be: "Gifts from the heart, not the pocketbook."
Anyway, I note all of this to publicly proclaim from whence my own biases might arise...as opposed to some self-righteous notion of being scandalized by the commercialization of Christmas. I will none-the-less marvel at the rut the UPS truck will make in asphalt from going to and from this person's house.
The yearning for advent I'll note in my next post...
And as I close off for the evening, a blessed Feast Day of St. Nicholas to you and yours!
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:24 AM [+] +++
Just tell people you're Going Green. In your neck of the woods, that should garner you instant respect. ;->
Or tell them that you're giving "experiences instead of gifts". Then let them think you're giving the kids Sonics tickets or Disneyland trips. They don't have to know you've given the kids a rural farm playground instead of the latest 90 dB toy.
Also, it's not 45 minutes of shrieking and ripping. It's (in order) "OH WOW IT'S JUST WHAT I WANTED", "Great, this is terrific!", "Nice, thanks Mom", "Oh, okay", "I didn't want this", "This is really @#$@"
'Tis the season to indulge our passions, you know (guilty as charged).