Thursday, December 26, 2002

Merry Christmas from the Family (not that this is about my family, I just really like that song).


Another Christmas has come and gone. This one has been of great importance for me, because it's been a Christmas of firsts. This was Luke's first Christmas, and like most people in the world, he isn't quite developed enough to understand it. It was the first time I had really thought about the meaning of Christmas, a holiday that my family didn't celebrate when I was growing up. My thoughts about it stemmed from me being elected to teach Sunday School on the fourth week of Advent, and I learned far more than what I taught anyone in the class. On the opposite hand, I worked as Santa Claus (for the tune of $25/hr) at Nordstrom, furthering the commercialism and greed that many people associate with Christmas. It was the first Christmas I took guests with me to Fred's to deliver Christmas dinner to the less fortunate and take advantage of the Free Beer they give to the volunteers. And it was the first Christmas dinner I've had with a group of people that could be the cast of a Hunter S. Thompson novel..... Yes, there's more.

After Christmas Eve with the in-laws, we woke up and had a traditional family Christmas morning of opening presents and spending family time. As I usually do on Christmas, I went to Fred's for the homeless dinner. For years, they have cooked about 500 dinners, funded by donations, and the regulars from the bar bring friends, load up the cars, and hunt down people that otherwise wouldn't have any Christmas dinner at all. Great fun, real casual, everyone's laid back, and gets as much draft beer as they care to enjoy. Caught up with me fast since I hadn't eaten since the night before. My friends Page and Kitty met up with Mandy and I at the house about 10:45am, and we headed over there, with plans to go to their house afterwards for drinks and food. The crowd at Fred's can be quite ecclectic at times, and I wasn't sure what the reaction to that would be. They assured the guests we would meet at their house would equal those at Fred's, and it ended up as a really good time. There were more than enough people to take care of all the dinners, it went smoothly, and we were off to the Norsworthy's for the reat of Christmas afternoon.

We arrive, and it's a small crowd, seven people. The usual Fort Worth young professional types. Our hosts were a food broker and a hotel manager. I'm in sales, and my wifes a nurse. I first talked open mindedly to who I thought was the gay neighbor, but he ened up being just a regular guy. Was a theater teacher at a prestgious private school, but quit for undisclosed reasons, and now is a traveling carpenter. He has cut his hair since many people have mentioned his Jesus Complex... For some reason, I can't see Jesus drinking a martini and wearing a fidora with a scarf... Next was the guy down the street,a physician who practices holistic and new age medicine. When asking about his Christmas eve and morning, he said it wasn't much of a deal since he is Jewish. But of course, he was as much welcome as anyone else. If not to gather and give thanks to our Savior, just to make the event more enjoyable. I could never turn anyone away. His date was the one that put the crowd over the edge... A writer from the northeast. She introduced herself with more than one name. Pen name as every author uses, she explained. In my opinion, it was enough to make a blip on my crazy radar. As the afternoon went on, she explained that she was visiting, on a book tour, promoting her newest novel Road Babe. Road Babe is a collection of her stories of erotic fiction. Her 8th public work, her first being in a 1994 issue of Penthouse. She then proceeded to read aloud one of her favorites, a tale of urinating and truckstops. Of course, she explained that all of her stories were either her true experiences or at least based on fact. Crazy Radar locked and loaded, effective once again.

We came home to make phone calls to all of our freinds and relatives that we didn't get to see, and then went to see the elderly lady that we did the 12 days of Christmas/Secret Santa with through the homebound department at our church. For the last 12 days, we had secretly dropped off a small present correlating with the number of days until Christmas, and on the last day we got to meet her. She was a very nice lady. We brought her a flowering cactus as a present, and learned she had lived there for many years. She told us that she was once a great dancer, and won money playing bridge. Her small dog Jazz was a great companion, and she offerd us some (quote) "cheap wine." It topped off what had been a very eventful Christmas. We went home, watched reruns of SNL Christmas specials, and I fell asleep about 8:30...

I learned a lot this Christmas. Over the last few years, I have developed a much stronger faith, but I have also become much more open minded in many ways. It's hard to explain, but even though I may not choose the same lifestyle as someone else, I don't waste time judging them and accept them for who they are. Christmas is about that to me... God didn't send His son to pay the price for the perfect people, but for the people that have shortcomings and weaknesses like you and me. Merry Christmas. And I assure you, don't expect to find anything this philosophical next week after New Years, just hope all your stuff is Y2K+3 compliant.

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