Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Sale Poem

Today the UMBC library was having a book sale, and I ventured in.
The room was quiet, soundless,despite the fact that people were there.
But everyone in the room sort of knew, speaking would be like a sin.
The soft rustle of pages and musty old book smell filled the room's air.
Each one of us browsing respected the books and the material within.
The quiet respect was clear, each book we touched received great care.

The books were mostly academic, with some paperbacks about Berlin.
a quarter to two dollars, the prices for each book hardly seemed fair.
I skimmed the book spines, but on some, the spin was too thin.
One thin book I took off the shelf, a cookbook adorned with a pear.
Another book caught my eye, a graduation gift to make someone grin.
I lingered over the poetry, picked Evangeline by Longfellow as a dare.

As I walked out, I ran into another shopper leaving, his books in a bin.
He had a twelve book illustrated Civil War reference set, pretty rare.
Those are nice, I remarked, and he nodded, knowing it was a win.
He lifted his box and asked a friend for help, and they worked as a pair.
I purchased my small stack and put them in a bag, tied up with a spin.
And I walked out wanting to explain the feeling from inside that lair.

I recognize some of the rhyme is a stretch.
But it was fun to write and captures the feelings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

So, I am ashamed to admit but I spent almost an hour constructing and decorating this little house. It's super fun & relaxing. This house has a fence, and Santa, and a holly vine along the gutters, with a snow covered roof, and small orange candles in the windows. After making this house, I started wondering who decreed that gingerbread houses had to be sweet. Wouldn't it be interesting to make it salty? Like, out of Saltines and pretzels and cheese dip as glue instead of frosting? You could decorate with cheez-its for shingles, edemame for grass, etc. It would be a lot of fun. Or what if we used peanut butter instead of frosting as glue?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Catching Christmas enthusiasm

Tonight I had the absolute pleasure of attending my school's Camerata Choir concert and Opera Workshops. The Camerata Choir has always amazed me with how great they are, so kudos to them, but today I want to focus on the Opera Workshops. Before the scenes began, the conductor (who is also the instructor of the Opera Workshops course) came onto the stage and described the course. He began by saying he was training his students to be comfortable on stage, which means they need to be willing to share intimate moments in front of a room full of strangers, and he had designed this Opera course to help them do that. Between each scene, he gave a short explanation of the plot and some details about the composer and their style. It was easy to follow, and it was clear to me that the instructor cared about what he was saying and had put that passion into a course for students, and was using the concert setting to share it with us.

Now think back to my post about Christmas spirit. Why do we have to get upset when someone wishes us Happy Holidays? Can we, instead, use it as a setting, a way to share what we care about? I know, it's a bit of a stretch to connect the concert to the Christmas theme I've got going, but I made the leap, and I hope you can see how I made the connection and think on it yourselves. Passion for something shows, and even if the other person doesn't necessarily understand the passion (I have no desire to study Opera) they will see it on you and catch your enthusiasm. Think of Christmas that way - a chance for everyone to catch our enthusiasm, instead of thinking of it as stealing our holiday season.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More on Christmas

So, right after I posted about Christmas, a fellow blogger, Kati, whose been doing a blog series on hope, posted about Christmas. She also talked about the hope she sees in the Christmas season, so I'm sharing it here.

Read it and see what you think - how are you feeling brought together by hope this season?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the "battle" for Christmas?

So, I took the month of November off from blogging, apparently. I like to have at least 3 blog posts per month, and by the time I realized it was November, the month was almost gone and I figured I'd just wait.

Anyways. Today I'm going to post about Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas radio on Pandora, and I've noticed a common theme in the lyrics. Here are some examples:
"Where are you Christmas, Why can't I find you, Why have you gone away" (Where are you Christmas)
"There is no peace on Earth, I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song" (I heard the Bells)
"Looks like another silent night as were sung to sleep by philosophies that save the trees and kill the children" (While You Were Sleeping)

Depressing, huh? The general theme seems to be something like this - "Oh, the world is hopeless and Christmas reminds us we're hopeless". I think a big part of this comes from the fact that so many Christians have taken to referring to this season as, "The battle for Christmas" (including my pastor in a recent email about upcoming events). I don't think we should think of it that way. Christmas shouldn't be a "battle". We shouldn't try to cure people of their holiday spirit. Now, I know that people talk about not liking the consumerism, but I really don't think that's what people who aren't Christians think about Christmas. Here's another lyrics example:

"Children laughing, people passing, Meeting smile after smile".
That's not a hymn. It's a Bing Crosby song (Silver Bells). But doesn't it show what everyone wants Christmas to be like? Everyone, not just Christians, want Christmas to be this way. Why do you think Santa is so popular?

My roommate loves the Christmas spirit. She gets excited for shopping, and decorating, and she likes that people are happy and she listens to Christmas music all the time. And you're telling me I'm supposed to tell her that the feelings she gets at Christmas are "not the true meaning"? How about this instead: "You know that feeling you get at Christmas? When people forgive one another and focus on hope for the new year and talk about being surrounded by love? What if I told you I knew a way you could feel that love and community all the time, and that it's called Jesus, and it's called the Church." Wouldn't that be better? Just a thought.