Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outsi---wait... (alternate title: It's Beginning to Look a lot like Muharram)

Not a current photo of Saudi Arabia.

I apologize for our week-long vow of silence. It was completely unintentional. You'd think after having almost 3 weeks off from work the Hubbins and I would be well rested and totally ready for our first week back to work. H'oh boy was that not the case! One night I went to bed at 6:45 p.m....and STAYED asleep! Ridiculous.

But hopefully we've found our stride and are back to our normal selves. At least I certainly hope that's the case because we are in it for the loooong haul! NINE more weeks before we get another break--no long weekends, no half days, no inservice days. All school all the time.

Yes, I said 9 weeks. Yes, I realize Christmas falls somewhere in there. No we don't get time off for Christmas.

The fact that I'm having to mentally gear up for weeks of school when I'm typically gearing down, combined with the fact that there is absolutely NO Christmas spirit in this country, leads to me sometimes forgetting that we're in the Advent season.

I'm not surrounded by Christmas carols in the stores and on the radio. There are no stockings, no Black Fridays, no stores hawking their cheap ornaments or buy-one-get-a-worthless-singing-snowman deals. Instead, I'm surrounded by the sounds of the call to prayer, lesson plans, English cluster meetings, and more lesson plans.

I don't mind it so much right now. Christmas isn't about the presents, the concerts, or the movies. I think that feeling will change when more and more people start posting Christmas party pictures on Facebook and my favorite movies like Elf and White Christmas never make an appearance on TV. But what this lack of Christmas has shown me more than anything else is that I don't really celebrate the Advent the way I'm supposed to, and I'm not entirely sure how to start!

I know that every Sunday during the Advent, we light a candle and the preacher says a little something about what the season means. When I was a kid, we always hung the Advent calendar in the living room (not far from the stockings) and put an ornament up everyday until Christmas Day. There are always wonderful parties at ornamented houses with hot apple cider and lots of carol singing. And I've always loved every minute of it. I will cherish those opportunities more after the Mister and I live outside of the Kingdom.

But what REALLY is the Advent, and how can a girl in the middle of the Islamic desert celebrate it without all the other Christians around to help?!

I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm really excited to find out and to genuinely celebrate Christmas in the most basic way. I won't have all the distractions. I'll just have my Bible, my husband, and God.

Vicariously yours,

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