Monday, December 11, 2006

Guest blogger Meredith Efken

Captain’s Log, Stardate 12.11.2006

Today I have my friend Meredith Efken guest blogging with me!

Meredith's latest mom-lit novel is @Home For the Holidays

Sitting by the fireside, humming carols and knitting mittens…not! For these stay-at-home moms, the weeks before Christmas are anything but mellow. How can you balance housework, home crises and the husband without losing your mind? Plug in your laptop!

Meet Dulcie, Zelia, Jocelyn, Rosalyn, Veronica and the rest of the women of SAHM I Am. An e-mail loop of stay-at-home moms, they've seen each other through months of domestic drama: babies who won't come, bills that won't leave, kids who won't listen and spouses who won't talk. Now, as the yuletide approaches, the SAHMs are on hand once again, bearing gifts of sisterhood, sanity and the real Christmas spirit.

And now, here’s Meredith!

This is the season of peace and love, of giving, of friendship. And for we who are Christians, of celebrating Jesus’ birthday. I think we choose to celebrate in really odd ways sometimes. I heard of one neighborhood association who demanded that a resident remove the Christmas wreath off their front door because it was shaped like a peace symbol. The resident sued the neighborhood association. Peace on earth, indeed. (To be fair, I have no idea if any of them claim to be Christians or not.)

I’ve gotten emails from people who ARE Christians who think it would be a fun idea to try to shut down the mail system of the ACLU by bombarding the office with “Merry Christmas” cards—to remind them that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” How…er, thoughtful of them. Or the American Family Association’s email from last year, suggesting that we “boycott” Christmas presents in order to teach retailers a lesson in the importance of saying “Merry CHRISTmas.” (That one ended up in modified form in my new book @Home For The Holidays.)

I read about someone whose business was displaying a life-size nativity scene outside, and the owner flew into a rage because they’d put baby Jesus in the manger BEFORE Christmas Day. “You can’t DO that!” she screamed. “It’s not accurate!!!”

Some people call it the “War on Christmas.” In a season that should be characterized by peace, I call it a bunch of utter crap.

I wonder how Jesus feels about these ways of celebrating his birth?

We really need to lighten up. First of all, Christmas is not a “Biblical” holiday in the sense of, say, the Day of Atonement or the Feast of Booths. The word itself is derived from “Christ’s Mass” and wasn’t celebrated in December until the second bishop of Rome declared that the Nativity of Christ should be honored during the Saturnalia feasts in order to counteract the pagan festivities. This is where the “decking the halls” tradition came from. Other influences of our Christmas traditions come from Mesopotamia and Egypt, as well as from European Germanic and Celtic fertility celebrations and the Winter Solstice.

Second, when we are more “inclusive” (*gasp* Yes, I said the “i-word”!) about how we refer to the various holidays this time of year, especially Hanukkah, we actually honor Jesus’ own real traditions and culture. Did you know that the Bible mentions Jesus celebrating Hanukkah, or the “Feast of Dedication” (referring to Hanukkah’s purpose of dedicating the temple after it was defiled in the Maccabean period) in John 10:22? It only makes sense, since He was Jewish, and the Jewish people began celebrating the Feast of Lights over a century before He was born.

I feel quite sure that the best “present” to give Jesus on his “birthday” would be respect for other cultures and an attitude of peace and real love, like he showed to everyone he met. That’s the only way to make this a “merry” holiday season for all.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Meredith Efken

Camy here: Thanks, Meredith!

TMI:

Writing:. I posted another short article on dialogue at my Story Sensei blog.

I’m almost done with my manuscript, but I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. Please pray I can finish these last few thousand words quickly.

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