Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

How have I never heard of this band before? Acts of Congress.  I 'discovered' them yesterday on the PW website, and granted, these four Christmas songs and the cover of that song from Garden State are the extent of my Acts of Congress exposure, but thus far, I love them.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Their O Holy Night isn't the Mariah Carrey experience that we're all used to, but it's still something special.  Amazing even.

Anyway.  It probably won't surprise you to know that I'm wild about Christmas.  As a child, I had to wait until Thanksgiving night to set up the tree and whatnot, but ya'll, being an adult is SOAWESOMESOMETIMESICAN'TEVENBELIEVEIT.  Say I want to put my tree up two weeks BEFORE Thanksgiving.

I CAN!!!

For a few years, I used to sort of look around, sort of over my shoulder, as if some grownup was going to jump out and demand that I undecorate my house.  Then I realize, duh, I'm the grownup!! This is MY house!!!


Seriously, Ava's always whining and crying that it's not fair that I get to eat after bedtime and I get to stay up late and wear yoga pants all day- I could go on and on.  And I always laugh at her and say "just wait dude, being an adult is SO FUN!!!"

So yeah.  When we had our packout, we thought we were leaving on Nov 30, so I didn't set aside a single Christmas decoration.  Nary a stocking to hang on the wall (er, near the chimney? I forget how non-islanders do things), not a single gold bulb, not even a wisp of wine colored tinsel to drape over the nonexistent bannister.  NADA.

It's depressing, to say the very least.  AND, to add insult to injury, we SOLD all the lights and electric outside decorations that we didn't send to England because of the voltage issue.  So we sort of have DOUBLE nothing.

So fearing the wrath of his lunatic wife more than the distinct possibility of living in a shelter and driving her to Shopaholics Anonymous meetings, Nick helped me pick out the world's smallest, yet still oddly elegant, tree, two strings of lights, and a box of gold and burgundy bulbs.  I was so happy I almost cried.

I fluffed that little tree, lovingly placed each bulb, and stepped back to admire my creation of beauty.

Then the kids raided the printer for paper and got to work adding their own decorations.


Let me give you a little tour of the above picture.  That's my Golden Girls aloha chair, part of the matching set that the military loaned us after I shipped our own stuff out.  That's an end table with all the wires under it, the router and the modem and things like that on the floor, then the cable box and dvd player (even though we don't have ANY dvds, but please don't get me started on that) and the TV. The TV is missing its stand (we had it hung on the wall upstairs) so it's really short, and can't peak its little sensor up over the cable box.  So we've got it sitting on...wait for it...a twelve pack of coke zero.  Then there's the tree, with the kids' papers.  I won't even call them decorations, because alls they did was take 8.5x11 papers from the printer and poke holes in it to stab it to the tree.

As I said, classy.

But whatever, I love it.  I love Christmas!!!  Imagine me clapping my hands with glee and even showing the rare smile.  Seriously, I LOVE the holidays.

So obviously, I've been listening to Christmas music nonstop since November 2nd.  Now, there's so many different types and genres and singers and blah blah blah, but here's a few of my personal favorites.

Now.  I am not a Jessica Simpson as an artist fan, or a Jessica Simpson as a role model fan, or even a Jessica Simpson as a member of humanity fan.  But Jessica Simpson as a singer of Christmas songs? Oh HELL yes.

I also LOVE her Little Drummer Boy with Ashley, but that's mainly for the drums, and my point (if I could say that I have one) for this is the lyrics.  Because Hark the Herald Angels Sing is my all time favorite Christmas song.  Yes, I know O Holy Night is supposed to be our favorite, blah blah blah, but what can I say.  I do love O Holy Night, I really do.  I just love Hark the Herald Angels sing a thousand times better.

Here's just a smattering of my favorite lines from this, my favorite Christmas song.

"God and sinners reconciled." Uh, that's pretty awesome.

But here's the kicker.  Just read it, leave out the tune and just read it as words.  Ready?

"Mild, He lays his glory by.  Born that man no more may die.  Born to raise the sons of earth.  Born to give them second birth."

I'm no scholar, but I think that's pretty powerful.  He's laying His glory aside, and being born, cold and wet and small and helpless, unable to walk or talk or feed himself or clean himself up, so that we have a chance at eternity.

Uh, yes please.

This was my favorite song for a while, and I still LOVE this Celine Dion version.  LOVE.  If you're driving down the road and you look over and see a crazy housewife with greasy hair and amazing new Tiffany glasses with her mouth wide open in a screech, pounding the steering wheel...it's probably me, and I'm singing this son.

Try this verse on for size.  "Yea Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning. Oh, Jesus, for evermore thy name be adored.  Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing."

Ya'll.  That's some powerful stuff.  For those of you reading this who aren't my sisters in Christ, as Christians, we oftentimes refer to Christ as the Word.  As in, the Bible.  I get a little hazy on the details, but I do know that it's something like that, and there's a Bible verse to go with it that I've always loved. It's John 1:1 (I think) and it goes "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God." The emphasis on the capitalized words is mine there.

I can't wrap my mind around the Trinity and all that philosophy stuff, but this is what I know.  From the beginning of time, God had something with him, some part of himself.  And then, he sent it to earth to save us.

The Word of the Father became flesh.  Just like us.  One of us.

So yeah, pretty powerful.

And of course, what's Christmas without Bandaid?

While this song doesn't have any mention of Christ, the lyrics are still pretty powerful. Again, try to just read it, without the melody.  I find that when I read it in a sing song voice, I have a harder time paying attention to the meaning. 

But say a prayerPray for the other onesAt Christmas time, it's hardBut when you're having fun
There's a world outside your windowAnd it's a world of dreaded fearWhere the only water flowingIs a bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring thereAre the clanging chimes of doomWe'll, tonight, thank God, it's themInstead of you
Ouch.  "Thank God it's them, instead of you." Makes me feel a little selfish, but it's true.  How grateful are we that it's NOT us? I don't think we should be ashamed of feeling that way, but obviously we need to realize that there ARE so many people out there who don't even have clean water.

Clean water ya'll.  Seriously.

And lastly, because I have to go watch another Criminal Intent if I'm going to finish all ten seasons before we move to the hotel (in twenty one days!!!)

This is another one that makes me think.  "You made my girlfriend THINK!!!"

"Do you wonder, as you watch my face, if a wiser one should have had my place?"

How AWFUL!!! Poor Mary.  I mean, of COURSE she was insecure.  Being pregnant...ugh.  It's beautiful and all that blah blah, but hormones suck at the BEST of times, let alone knowing that you're carrying Christ.  I'm sure every single time she groaned about her back hurting or her ankles being swollen or just being fat in general, she panicked and convinced herself that God would think she was ungrateful.

This is not a load I would have wanted to bear.  Or is it bare? 

Anyway.  Christmas is awesome.  Try to remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.  

Engelbrecht out.

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