Christmas Cheer, oh dear!

Sometimes the United States infuriates me, seriously, what is with all the hullabaloo over Christmas, Xmas, Happy Holidays and whatnot spearheaded by my greatest source of hilarity and entertainment Fox news. Since when is there a war on Christmas? How can we even talk about war on Christmas in a place that starts playing Christmas music in all the stores of all the land right after (and oftentimes even right before) Halloween. Christmas cheer (or insanity, however you prefer to see it) is shoved down our collective throats two entire months before the festive event, and here we are debating whether or not there’s some sort of covert war on Christianity going on, in a country more fanatically Christian than the Vatican. It boggles the mind. Of course, Italy being second in the running for country with most pointless debates about useless things, I shouldn’t really be all that surprised or shocked at the US, I’m used to it after all.  Moving on.

This year was the in-laws’ turn for Christmas so we didn’t have too far to travel, in fact we took full advantage of their hospitality. The Husband dropped the kids off on Saturday and drove home after dinner. The five plus hour round trip drive though was worth it as we had a blissful two days of alone time at home. We finished shopping for gifts, we watched movies, we ate with nary a threat or chaos of any kind, we slept in, we went back to bed after breakfast just because we could. We missed the kids terribly and the house was too quiet, but as the husband remarked we talked more in those two days than we usually do in a week.

Christmas at my MIL’s is what Christmas should be, too much family, too much food, too much wine, too much yelling, too many presents and way, way too much chaos. It takes two full days to get over it, but it’s wonderful. I just wish my family could be there too.

Hopefully your Christmas was just as chaotic and joyful as ours, if not, next year you can come over here, the fun is guaranteed.

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas I still hope you had a wonderful Wednesday, cause it doesn’t have to be a holiday to make a day good and family members love each other a little more, even for just one day.

Slightly alarming news on all fronts

So the Pope announced he’s stepping down from his office because he can’t deal with the pressure of being the leader of the Catholic Church. Considering he’s 85, and the present state of the Catholic Church, I can’t say I blame him. In fact, I commend him, because seriously, I’m pretty tired of seeing men, enfeebled by their age, health, and general constitution hanging on dentured tooth and brittle nail to their position of power despite the fact that they are unable to face the responsibilities and duties thereof. (See 90% of Italian politicians, parliamentarians, and CEOs for examples of this)

So, hats off Benedict XVI, because for once a man in power put his office first, and in this case, his church and his congregation first, rather than his pride. I wasn’t a huge fan of this Pope, but with his actions he has really made an impression on me, and has, frankly, changed my opinion of his character and his motivations completely. Not that he gives a poop about my opinion, I’m just putting it out there.

Also, with this completely out of the blue announcement he’s given the Italian, and world, press something to talk about other than the Italian elections and Berlusconi’s imminent (or not) comeback because oh my god the tedium! So hopefully for the next two weeks we won’t be bombarded with wholly uninteresting and mostly gross images of our main party candidates in various compromising positions or looking all out moronic in the eyes of the world, no, we get to read about a bunch of cardinals duking it out over who gets to be supreme ruler of the world (or so they think). Church politics in lieu of actual politics, just as heated, slightly less tawdry, so I for one, am popping the pop corn and uncorking the wine (hey, Jesus would totally approve), and waiting for the white smoke to tell me how my life is not going to be even remotely affected by what the conclave decides.

And, in other disturbing thoughts: Want to know how I found out the Pope was resigning? Facebook. Yes. Facebook. In fact, 90% of the world news I hear of I’ve gleaned off of either facebook or twitter (5% from the radio, but this is rare as I only listen to my own playlists now, and the remaining 5% from the Husband’s weekly news recap – which he instituted to prevent me from sounding like a complete dimwit when talking to other adults, because I don’t ever read a newspaper). Actually, not just world news, but also gossip, entertainment news, and what my friends are up to, all that comes from facebook and twitter.

It’s equal parts scary and sad. I would tell you that right now, right this minute as I’m writing this I’m all resolved to get better at keeping myself informed on current events, but if history is any indication (and frankly I’m more familiar with history than the present) I will be no more and no better informed tomorrow than I am today. And I’m strangely ok with that.

The thing about religion

The Boy came home today singing a song about how he has “a friend up in the sky and his name is Jesus”, it was a happy song, with a catchy tune, but it kind of gave me the creeps.

The boy goes to a Catholic parochial preschool, so I shouldn’t really be surprised, but though I knew religion played some role in his school life, I hadn’t actually sat down and thought out the implications. A few months ago he went through a period of a few weeks where he recited the Hail Mary at bedtime, I was a bit taken aback but thought it was generally kind of cute, and yet now… I don’t know, it’s starting to sink in that the Boy will have a different sense of religion from me.

Though my parents were both raised Catholic, they had both distanced themselves from the church by the time my brother and I were born, so religion really wasn’t a big part of our lives. The gist of their entire religious education was there’s one God for everyone, everyone believes in their own version of him, churches are unnecessary and mostly there to control the masses, Christ was a pretty cool guy, the bible is a bunch of hooey.

I’m not sure what tack I want to take with my kids. I don’t feel any particular need to be part of a church, and though I’m not against organized religion per say, I am wary of it, mostly because historically organized religion, any religion, has a pretty shitty track record.

Not that I mind the Boy singing songs about Jesus, if I think about it most of the bedtime songs that I sing them are hymns (amazing grace, he’s got the whole world in his hands, kumbaya), which befuddles me cause I’m wondering where and when exactly I learned them, possibly during a very brief stint at a Southern Baptist elementary school before my parents came to their senses and switched me to first a public then an international school. I’m just worried that he may become indoctrinated, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. In the end it comes down to whether environment or family values are more important.

And boy did my skin crawl just for writing the words “family values”, when did political lingo become so implicitly interwoven in our day to day language, to the extent that two simple words have become a brand for certain specific agendas?

Well, for now, I’m helping him learn his prayers, and I explained what a rosary is when he found one around the house, and the story of Jesus’ life has replaced The Three little Pigs as bedtime entertainment, and I do it willingly, I do… but sooner or later I’m going to have to temper all this Christianity with some talks about Budddhism, or Islam, or Judaism, or Paganism because I don’t want him thinking there is only one road ahead of him. And of course I want to keep telling fairy tales and stories by the Brothers Grimm, and suddenly I’m faced with decades of bedtime storytelling that will never, can never, end because the subject matter is so vast and so serious. All this because the Boy came home singing about Jesus one day… can you even believe this is how my mind works?!

 

And now I’m going to have to start brushing up on my Theology. Anyone have any good books to suggest?

 

Toodles, M