Friday, November 23, 2007

A quiet house...

I sit watching the steam float above my hot cup of tea, waiting to be sipped. My thoughts are swirling around aimlessly, not wanting to settle. I figure I should just write them, and hopefully I'll be able to sleep.

Today marks the beginning of the Christmas season for many people. They put up their decorations, start their plans, begin shopping at 4:30 AM with a million other mad people (I could never understand that,) play Christmas music, and of course hang up the lights (or for the people who keep them up year round, simply plug them in.) Unfortunately, we had none of that today. I had hoped to set up the Christmas tree, and start on making my ornaments. I decided that I wanted to make salt dough ornaments this year, and have Carlee and I decorate them. But, Tony wasn't much in a holiday mood.

Last year, after Christmas flew by, I had made an entire list of family 'traditions' I had wanted to start. Carlee's getting old enough to understand the holiday, and it was really exciting. However, this past year has flown by, and December is rushing here way too fast. We have decided not to buy Carlee so much stuff, like we did last year. We went all out for some reason, got carried away in the Christmas shopping hoopla. She played with the toys for a bit of course, but not as much as we had imagined she would. So, this year I want to get her one main present, an easel/chalkboard combo, and I keep waiting for the NEX to get one in, but they still haven't. She's much more of a creative child anyhow; she loves to simply play and create with paints, colors, play dough, and play pretend.

This year, I am personally very excited because I think that we are going to be reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas much more this year than we ever have as a family. We're going to Rome for Christmas, and we've got tickets to go to Midnight Mass at the Vatican! A friend of mine asked me the other day, "Well are you going to take presents in your luggage?" I was so baffled. I couldn't imagine why I would do that, when this would be the best opportunity to let go of material things and to celebrate Christmas with Jesus and God as the main purpose, instead of what's inside the pretty wrapped boxes.

Now, my husband is not Catholic, and not very religious at all in fact, but I'm so grateful that he agreed to this trip and is being very positive about it. I feel that for me, this is going to be something I will never forget.

Religion is such a complex issue for me. I was raised Catholic, which I still consider myself, although I honestly don't go to Church, my marriage is not recognized (therefore I cannot receive Communion,) and honestly there are things that I don't agree with that Catholicism includes. On the other hand, there are also many things that I do believe in, that Catholicism at best dismisses, and at worst condemns as sins. So, my faith has always been something I've struggled to label. Personally, I believe that God honors any way that people choose to worship him, although not many people share my acceptance of religions, which is really sad.

Anyway, back to the trip. I'm very excited about it, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing Christmas this way. And to visit a place with so much history is going to be simply amazing! I'm counting down the days!