Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tis the season?

I had all sorts of ideas for the blog this week.

Oh boy! I thought I could talk about how crazed I get this time of year with parties and shopping and dealing with children flooded with Christmas insanity. I thought about maybe discussing how I gave myself a ten minute spa treatment to help counteract the urge to wrap garland around someone's neck until they turned as red as Rudolph's nose. I even thought about discussing how jaded I am by this point because I've been seeing Christmas stuff out since Halloween.

Then I went to church last night.

No, this isn't going to be a religious post. I promise!!! I have my faith, but that doesn't mean I'm going to shove it down your throat. I have friends who are Jewish, Buddist, Pagen, Wiccan, Hindu, Mormon, and Muslum. I'm Catholic and that works for me, but it doesn't work for everyone, so be it.
Anyway, as I was sitting in church kind of tuning out the priest instead of really focusing, a part of his sermon caught my attention and actually shocked me out of my musings.

In front of our church, we have a stable set up for the holidays with statues of Joseph, Mary, lambs and donkeys and the three Magi. Baby Jesus gets put in after Midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Two years ago, the statue of Baby Jesus was stolen. The church put up a video camera with a sign "God is watching you. So are we, video surveilence in effect." I thought it was sad, but clever.

This week, two teenage boys stole the statue of Mary and one of the lambs. They were caught on tape and their picture will be plastered all over our local paper. Hopefully they'll return the statues before that happens.

Okay, now come on! I can see being young and stupid and stealing a street sign or park bench or something else, but Mary? I mean do you think they're thining,
"I don't want to wait in line when I go to Hell, I want the express lane!"

Besides stealing something in front of a church when it states quite clearly you're on tape, I just don't understand WHY? What internal battles are being waged inside a 17 year old that would tempt him to desicrate a display that's so important to a faith?

These are the same demons that possess kids to paint swastikas on Jewish meeting places, and burn crosses infront of African American churches and homes.

Maybe they just did it on a lark, or a dare. (Although I doubt that as they were caught on film doing a trial run.) Or maybe they're just good kids who thought they were being funny. (Again, not so sure about that since they were out at 1:30 am on a week night.) But in any case, this did more to make me think about the real reasons behind celebrating Christmas than any sermon or TV special ever could.

So, if you celebrate the holiday, Merry Christmas to you. If you celebrate any of the other holy days that occur during this time of year, I wish blessings upon you.

And if you're the one who stole the statue of Mary, I hope for your sake you like it hot.


Lynn LaFleur said...

Wonderful post, Ari. I, too, wonder about senseless destruction and vandalism, especially during the holidays. My local news showed a video of kids tearing up a beautiful lights display that someone took a very long time putting up. Makes me very sad.

On the other hand, I'm never happier than at Christmas. The lights, the smile on someone's face as he/she says "Happy Holidays!", the wonderful music. I love it all.

So however you celebrate, and whatever holy day you celebrate, I wish you a joyous time.


Ruby Storm said...

I hope they like it hot also! Geez. You know, I find it so sad that there are more and more incidences like this. Whatever happened to just plain good citizenship and morality? It seems that nothing is sacred anymore.

Look at what happened in Omaha this past week. How horrible and senseless for the families that are left to grieve. Have we become a nation that contiually has to be aware of our surroundings and always looking over our shoulders?

Like you Ari, and you Lynn, I do enjoy the holidays with my family and friends. Sharing the holiday season gives me a sense of peace.


Anny Cook said...

I would point out for every bad, sad thing that happens, there are thousands of stories about selfless people who go out of their way to make this holiday special for someone, even strangers that they may never meet.

For every vandal, there is a group of kids somewhere putting up that manger scene. For every tragedy, there is a wonderful meeting of hearts somewhere else.

Certainly, I have had my share of both. But at this time of year, I choose to remember the reason for the season is not commercialism, but celebration for the different faiths we have. Merry Christmas!

N.J.Walters said...

There is a lot of senseless destruction and vandalism, but there is a lot of good too.

Although, I will never understand the mindset behind stealing a statue of Mary or spray-painting a swastika or burning a cross. That much anger is beyond my scope of understanding. The people who do that are already living in the hell they are making of their lives. I pity them.

This time of year is magic and filled with miracles and possibilities.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannakkuah, Happy Yule, Happy Holidays. No matter what your beliefs are, may you have a very special holiday season.

Nikki_Soarde said...

I wonder....and in all honesty this just came to me...but I wonder if, for kids like this, it's all about control. Bullies push people around because they perceive their victims as weaker than themselves, and because it's the only way they know to exert some control and build up some misdirected sense of self esteem in a world where they feel they have NO control and feel worthless. PErhaps acts of vandalism are the same. It's just bullying in another form. It's a way for these kids to say, "Look what *I* can do, and you can't stop me! Nyah!"

Not that that excuses it, or makes it any less tragic or offensive, and not that there's really much we can do if that is the case... but maybe it makes it easier to not get so angry about it. And to go on and enjoy the positive things that so many of us do enjoy about the season.

Titania Ladley said...

How horrible! I hope Mary and the lamb are returned intact, and that those kids are found and dealt with appropriately. Keep us updated, Ari!

But no matter how bad some people choose to be, I'll not let them win... I still believe 'tis the season. :) Happy Holidays, everyone, and here's wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year!


Ruby Storm said...

Anny Cook-

VERY WELL SAID! You are sooo right.


Deb said...

Here Here,Ann. I totaly agree.
Where ever it happens, we still all feel.
Ari, it is sad to think that we have people out there that do these things for the fun of thrill of it.