Friday, December 28, 2007

why does warm+fuzzy=christmasy?

We do like to dress Christmas up in fairy lights don't we! Let's all feel "Christmasy", jingle some bells, remember a night when all was "calm and bright", hang up our stockings, sniff the cloves and cinnamon, let it snow let it snow let it snow.
Don't get me wrong, I love our ridiculous traditions and the once a year chance to get together with the extended family but in all these wrappings I've started to see the birth of Christ through those warm fuzzy spectacles. Songs like “Silent night” where “all is calm and all is bright” don’t really help things either. Yes, Jesus birth was a miracle. But he was born in the humblest of circumstances, in a messy birth in a dirty smelly stable! Can you imagine giving birth in a stable?! Yeeeeuch… There was no tinsel, no fairy lights. It may not have been an ordinary birth. Angels announced it, and then shepherds turned up to gape, some wise men brought their gifts a little later, leaving his parents somewhat awed and bewildered.
But there’s a distinction between what is “christmasy” or magical and what is miraculous.

Got to bring Sufjan in here... another thing I love about those albums is the fact that interpersed amongst the bells and banjo carols is the occasional song that reminds me that the whole world doesn't just become glowing and "christmasy" at Christmas time. That people still hurt, families don't suddenly become unbroken, fighting doesn't always stop, wars don't just end, people don't suddenly escape poverty or become happy at, or just during the christmas period.

Jesus coming was a way of healing the broken-hearted but think about what it took him to do that... He came to live among us, he came to live as one of us, experiencing weakness as we do, he humbled himself, in life, taking on the very nature of a servant, not just his death on the cross. He taught, healed, reached out...

The miracle is that God came as the light of the world, to bring us peace and joy! It's awe-inspiring and well worth celebrating! But in order to bring us that peace and joy, he had to experience the ordinary and weakness and suffering, whether that was being laid as a newborn in a feeding trough or being crucified alongside common criminals. I wouldn't call that magic.

So I've been trying to remember that Christmas celebrates the fact that Jesus came down in human frailty. He was fully God, just and righteous and love, and yet he became fully human; lived life, experienced weakness, hunger, brokenness, hurt and pain. And so He understands our weakness... Amaaaazing!

Christmas was a miracle! Christ is a miracle! But miracles don't necessarily mean "magic". And somehow I don't think there was any "magic" on that first Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is my first year sans advent calender :"(

I roughly estimate that I spent the run up to Christmas doing

countless hours of studying
almost as many hours of celloing
several hours of singing carols at the top of my voice
8 hours of cleaning the flat
7 hours of 12 hour cheesy pop, (of which 2 hours were spent watching It's a Wonderful Life, 3 hours were spent boogying on at the headphone disco (quality concept!) and 2 hours spent chatting to randoms and not so randoms at the stall)
6 beanscene visits (most of which were to "chat about the critical review")
5 hours of mince pies and mulled-wine consumption
4 christmas carol services (to date)
3 and a half ceilidhs
2 exams
and 1 critical review

And after all that and some more that I couldn't fit into 12 verses, I am back in Edinburgh again for a proper break! It's roasting inside (having Sri Lankan parents means the heating is on ALL day!) and baltic outside (frost, unlike anything we ever get in glasgow, woopwoop!) Actually getting a proper break, except from celloing... in exchange for being fed I am playing in 3 church carol services avec les parents. A cellist's work is never done.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apologies for misinformation in my last blog entry. Turns out we're not being broadcasted till Friday at 7.15pm on the "highland cafe show"
Though for the next week or so it should be possible to stream and listen to the show on the above link
Right, I'm off to bed

Monday, December 10, 2007

blatant procrastination

I had been determined to avoid procrastination blogging until the end of this week (end of deadlines/exams). I just cracked.

But there is soooooo much to blog about!

1. The wonders of carols! In the last few days I have been to a carolling party (lots of musical people jamming and singing carols together all evening), 2 different carol service rehearsals, sang non-stop on the half an hour walk to church with my old flatmate. You'd think I'd be sick of the music, but no. Yesterday I made the purchase of Sufjan Steven's 5 CD christmas wonder! To be honest I would have bought it for the beeeeeyoootiful version of Joy to the World on CD 4 (one of my fav carols) but getting 5 wonderful CDs was more than an added bonus! Siiiigh...

2. Last week, I discovered that - prancing around in a ball dress + quality time with coursemates (i.e not talking about or even thinking about looming deadlines) + silly dancing and good food = remarkably therapeutic stress-free evening

3. The wonders of TEA!! (in response to this post)

Builder's tea... meh... I've lost my liking for the stuff. In the tea corner of our kitchen however, I currently own, an assortment of loose teas with random names like "arctic fire", green tea, white tea, camomile, honey and vanilla tea, lemon and ginger tea, lady grey. Despite the fact that yesterday Potter managed to bleed over a few tea bags and boxes (now hopefully all disinfected away) they still haven't quite lost their appeal. Tea consumption in the flat is an excitement... i.e "hmmm what do I feel like today?" What kind of choice can be had with the likes of coffee?! What I'm saying Quinn is, for the sake of your stomach, why don't you try branching out? ;)

4. This Wednesday lunchtime (methinks about 1pm) ze band is going to be live on BBC radio Scotland! Woop woop! Shame we have to get up at 6am and train it up to Inverness for like 3 hours just for the pleasure!