Monday, 1 October 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town... should I invite Jesus?

Somehow it is October again. The shops aren't even being coy with the Christmas decorations now they just ARE. Though the musak hasn't been pumping yet. I am one of these people that sit in the room while people are bitchin' about Christmas and the commercialism and "Santa's just a great big paedo" yadda yadda yadda, humming Christmas Carols to myself and wondering just how many desserts I can make for Christmas without going overboard. I think my personal limit is probably 8. Or maybe 10 just to be on the safe side. Fruit mince pies, trifle, chocolate caramel slice, Christmas puddings, pavlova, brandied fruit, handmade chocolate truffles, rocky road...

I love Christmas. I love Carols, I love tinsel, I love stockings and sugar plums and the rich buttery alcohol smell of Christmas cooking. I love intricate decorations on trees and I love the bonhomie in the air from the fellow Christmasphiles guiltily stroking the panne velvet tree skirts while pretending to be as cynical as the next Grinch. I love the planning and the scheming for the little girls who can't wait for their dreams to magically come true. Can't wait to write letters to Santa and to lay out carrots for the Reindeer before readign the "Night Before Christmas". It's my favourite time of year.

The only thing I struggle with is the Christianity aspect. I was brought up Roman Catholic (thought not the strictest household) and as such Christmas had a special significance. All the Christmas hymns and celebrations definitely mean so much more if you're a believer. So I am feeling kind of strange about what I tell the girls. This somehow seems like so much mroe of a big parenting dilemma than the other stuff I've worried about.

Do I believe in Jesus? Well yes, I believe that a man named Jesus existed, that he was powerful and prophetic and personable and someone who espoused the sort of morals that we should try and live by. But do I believe in his divinity? That he was born of virgin conception by God? No, no more than I believe that the hand of God is in all conception. So that leaves me in a quandary. I can celebrate that Jesus was born, and that it was an amazing event in history, but can I sing "Christ the Saviour is born"? Well that I don't know.

And yet I don't want to deprive Christmas of Christianity, although it is to me more of a special occasion for the family, and the chance to give gifts and to just celebrate being here, Christmas is Christ's birthday. Tricky. I think my best bet is to just teach the girls about Christianity without telling them to believe in it. Much like we do when talking about Chinese New Year. Easter is even harder again.

It probably sounds like I'm overthinking this (I am) but spirituality is just so hard to handle when you're not confined to a rigid belief. There's no guidance! You just have to come up with it as you go, do your own research and make your own conclusions when it's so much easier to have someone else tell you what to do!

I am back at uni this week. I am staying with my parents while I go to seminars and lectures and the girls have fun with their (already exhausted) grandparents. Rural medicine seems interesting, and the people I am studying with equally so. The assessment is both full on and scary though so I had best not babble much longer. Besides, I have some Christmas planning to do!

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