I have returned safely from Christmas. I spent much time on the road, but it was quite safe. I was conveniently surprised as for a good part of my journey, there seemed to be little traffic. At our first Christmas stop, I was actually the first guest to show up. I hid my car somewhere to surprise my parents, especially my mother, when they walked in, and indeed, she was surprised.
Our second get-together seemed a bit empty to me honestly though. We’ve usually gathered around and had each person with about ten presents or so and we’d go in order. This year though, it was as if each person bought only one gift for one person. I broke the rule naturally though, though unknowingly, by buying a gift for my grandmother, aunt, and uncle.
That is something I have never understood. It seems the older folks, and I am the youngest, get so concerned about spending so much time and staying late. That was always part of the joy to me. Now I naturally stay up late, but just being up till the midnight hour and seeing all the laughter and jokes was something special. I can’t help but wonder why that time is shortened.
Spending the night again at my parents’ place was odd. It felt out of place. I even slept in the bedroom that used to be mine until I moved out, but I can’ t say it was very sound. The mind seemed to be in a thousand places and nowhere. Most of us I think know that sense of something just seeming off-kilter even if you can’t put your finger on it.
Of course, I did enjoy seeing my family again. Don’t get me wrong. I suppose as I think about it, it’s just the realization that I have indeed changed. I am no longer the kid that stays there. I am the man that has come home for Christmas. It is as if a rite of passage has been crossed where the place that used to be home cannot be considered. As I told my mother when she called me on my way home, “I’m half an hour away from home.” In talking about my living where I’m at now I just told her that this is where I need to be, and she understood.
There were plenty of good times. I got many things to enjoy, but there is a great joy in seeing other people open the gifts you get them and seeing their delight. It was a bit odd though as my sister and I both got my mother the same thing. (Geez! She’d mentioned it to me though and said that that was what she wanted for Christmas!)
Yet Christmas seems to leave a bittersweet feeling. Even while family is around and gifts are being opened, something in the heart cries “Is this all there is?” It’s not about the gifts. While I did bring home many good things that I really need around here, there was still an emptiness.
Now this might sound odd, but I can’t say I think about Christ more around Christmas. I see other people do so apparently, but for me as one who studies this area, this is a lifelong thing. I am spending time thinking about the wonder of the incarnation when it’s the middle of Summer. While I do embrace that Jesus is the reason for the season, I would honestly say that even for me, that sometimes might seem to get lost.
But does it really? On the way to and from my parents’ place for instance, I am listening to apologetics CDs in my car. (Alright. On the way back, I couldn’t find a place to stop until I got home so when I ran out, I listened to the music CDs. My CD player is in my trunk so it’s kind of inconvenient.) Listening, it made me think about plans for the future and carrying forth the adventure of apologetics.
How did the day end? It ended like many Christmases have ended. I find Christmas starts off with a bang for me and then it just kind of slows down. However, the evening is spent in enjoyment. Last year, it was playing Final Fantasy XII which my sister had got me. This year, it was watching an episode of Season 5 of Monk and watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
What will happen? I’ll go to sleep soon, but I’ll be at home and maybe this is my Christmas gift and the best that I could have. That would be the realization that this is my home. I have my friend here, and that is the best I could have. Take back all that I got this year. As long as I have my friend here, I would be pleased. Friendship cannot be bought at a store.
It seems I am blessed in both ways. Tonight, I will rest realizing that I’m not the same person in many ways that started the apologetics endeavor years ago. My future is bright and I am the only person that is keeping myself from embracing that idea. I pray that in my times of sorrow, I will be released soon to see the light of day. When the morning comes, I will realize that 2 + 2 does indeed equal 4.
An odd way to write about Christmas, but would you have me be anything other than honest? From my blog it is my firm hope that you had a Merry Christmas. I think I will look back on this one as a great Christmas as well.