What's this, you say? You hate the most wonderful time of the year? You hate the time of Peace on Earth, Good Will to All, God bless us everyone, merriness and good cheer, lifting up the meek and the lowly, fa la la la la la la la la....
Well, no. Not exactly. All right, not at all. And yet, oh, how I hate it.
Sensing some conflict here? Good. Because I'm loaded with it--not unlike the season of Christmas, as observed in these United States of America. In fact, I've got a lifetime's worth of joys and concerns, complaints and plaudits, raptures and regrets, heart and spleen aching to be vented.
Good thing I've got a blog.
I have decided to make December the month of Christmas. And yes, I'm aware that, outside of this blog, it already is. But back to me. I'm dedicating my blog this month to taking apart Christmas: the pluses, the minuses, the excesses, the recesses, the blessings and abominations and exploitations and neglected possibilities that put this season at the heart of what it is to live in the First World. My musings will be informed by my twin graduate study tracks, theology and music education, as well as a lifetime's experience being both Protestant and American. There will also be insights drawn in from time spent in the exotic locales of England (birthplace of and template for our obsessive approach to the season) and Texas (where anything worth doing is worth doing to excess), as well as childhood and young adult years spent in chilly places like New England, Idaho, and the Midwest. I'll wrap it all up in as neat a package as I can manage (acknowledging ahead of time that my wrapping skills leave something to be desired), put a pretty bow on top, and sometime around New Years Day--or possibly Epiphany, I haven't decided yet--come to some grand conclusion about how, at the age of 52, I really feel about Christmas. You are welcome to partake of whatever I write, ignoring anything that does not ring true with your own experience, quoting me with or without attribution, and sharing my blog with anyone you wish. In fact, I'd love it if you repost whatever I write, so it gets a wider audience than the 18-20 who usually look at my posts. Consider it your Christmas present to me.
So now, with the introduction out of the way, we shall begin with: Advent.