Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Culture-Shock

i have followers! i feel like a cult-leader saying that. You guys want to move to some small foreign country with me? Yes, yes you do.

i hope that you all are having a wonderful Christmas week, but i am sorry break it to you that i am a bit of a Scrooge. Well, not too sorry. That's right, i don't love Christmas. Just thought i would warn you before you read the rest of this post...

This is a relatively recent development because Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year, it is so festive, and fun, and heck, who doesn't love getting presents?
Here is what i think happened to me:
This time two years ago, i was in one of the world's poorest countries, it was hot and majority Islamic. It was hard to spend December and Christmas in a place that didn't feel like Christmas at all. There was no frantic shopping, no snow, no Christmas music blaring. And i loved it. i woke up Christmas morning, walked to church, and worshiped Jesus. No gimmicks, no materialism, just Jesus.

After spending a year in Tanzania i found that (except for one restaurant freak-out) i didn't really experience much culture shock. That is, until Christmas came around the next year. i found myself struggling to be joyful, excited, and in the "Christmas Spirit." (Just what kind of spirit is this Christmas Spirit anyways?)
i definitely don't feel more cheerful when on Thanksgiving day the radio stations are promising to play nothing but Christmas music through Christmas day. i mean, if you really want to play Christmas music, why don't you play worship songs about Jesus and not songs about Santa, and Rudolph, and presents?

OK, i am done ranting, i promise. i think that all this originated from seeing what Christmas could be like if we really did make it a season of worship. i am pretty resigned now to the idea of this secular holiday, i am just asking God to help me worship, but how do I separate the things i enjoy from my frustrations? i almost want to pretend like Christmas is equivalent to Labor day or the Fourth of July. Have fun with your family, exchange gifts, eat a lot of food, get through an awkward Christmas Eve Service where you see people that you haven't seen since last Christmas Eve...

Maybe i should just schedule mission trips over Christmas from now on. At least i am getting a new pair of running shoes out of the deal.


Saturday, December 12, 2009


i am really drawn to this picture of these sunflowers, it has been on my desktop for a while. i love sunflowers because it is so hard to look at them and not smile; they are so bright and cheery. The reason i love this particular picture is because the photographer changed an identifying feature of these flowers; their color. By removing the color they now look old, maybe forgotten, but they are still beautiful. The color of the flowers were changed and the whole picture is changed, we see them in a different way.

i read an article once about a man playing a violin in a Washington DC metro station. He played for about an hour and collected 32 dollars from people passing by. Only a handful stopped to listen for a moment before going on their way, everyone had somewhere to be, something they were late for. What these people didn't know was that this man, two nights previously had played to a sold out theater in Boston, his violin was worth 3.5 million dollars and there, in the DC metro, he was playing one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written.

This is so interesting to me, how everything is the same except the location, or the color, or the angle. What if we could take a moment and think about things in a different way. What does perspective do to a situation, how much impact does it have on our outlook on life?

This causes me to think about situations in my life and how i can look at them differently.
Moving back in with my parents? Everything is the same except location. This is a chance for me to meet new people, try new things, and learn to trust.
Needing money for school? An opportunity to see what God can do.
How many things do i miss because i am looking at them my way instead of looking at the God's way?
He is a little backwards in how He does things.
Beauty for Ashes
Laughter for Tears
A Garland of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness

and i am glad.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a while, since it seems to be the trendy thing to do. But I never really had enough to say to put in a blog. I mean how interesting is the life of a twenty-something single girl who is moving back in with her parents? Add that to the fact that I am technologically inept and you have a pretty lame blog. But the good news is that you don’t have to read this is you don’t want to. The truth is I have terrible follow-through and it is not likely that anything will develop, but, well, we shall see won’t we?

I am a bit afraid though because it is really easy to share really personal stuff with a computer and feel a disconnect with the people who are on the other side. It seems to be really unhealthy to me that I can easily bear my soul for the whole world to see but I can’t sit down and be vulnerable with my friends. Although I am hoping that world has better things to do than read my blog.

Since this is my first official entry, lets evaluate my life for a minute:
I am 26 years old, not only am I unmarried (unlike many of my friends), but I have never dated anyone. That’s right, I am Drew Barrymore (Never Been Kissed? Anyone?).
I have two college degrees, and they are so valuable that they enabled me to get into graduate school. Jobs on the other-hand, my degrees are not so useful for.
And the best part of all is that I am at that stage in life where you either get married or move back in with your parents and since I am obviously in the second category, I am currently in the process of transferring my worldly possessions back into my childhood home. I am sure that you can imagine my enthusiasm.

But here is why I am not totally depressed about my life right now:

I have hope.

Hope. It is a simple four-letter word that is popular to throw around these days. It is easy to lose it and a lot of people are looking for it, but I have it. And it doesn’t disappoint. That is because I place my hope in the Lord and not in my present circumstances. I have hope that God has plans a purposes for my life. I have hope in His provision. I have hope in abundant life. I am actually pretty excited about this new stage of my life. It may not be the most glamorous or exciting, but it is new. And you get to wait and see what new and exciting things God is going to do! (I hope!)

Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates