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Embracing the season

This morning on my way to school, as I hit my preset for Wish 99.7, I was greeted by B.E. Taylor singing "Mary's Boy Child." For a second, I thought I was mistaken, but then I remembered what today is, Light-Up Night.

As all Pittsburghers know, Light-Up Night, which is actually going to be a two-day event this year, kicks off the holiday season. Now I don't get all worked up about what people call this time of year (though I am glad the city has abandoned the stupid "Sparkle Season" moniker). I am a Christian so I celebrate the Christ part of Christmas, which to me also includes the giving tree at church. But I love the secular aspects of it as well. I am all about the lights, the carols, the decorations, Santa, the reindeer and elves, the Christmas specials, the food, the goofy sweaters, my silly jingle bell necklace and Santa hat. I cry a couple of happy tears as soon as Westinghouse puts up its tree light decoration along the Parkway East. And the Eat 'n Park Christmas tree/star commercial gets me every time.

From the time I was in fifth grade until I moved to Pittsburgh about 15 years later, I sang at Midnight Mass with the men's choir, which was one of my favorite things about Christmas. My inaugural year came at a good time; that was the first year I accepted that there was no jolly, fat guy in a red suit leaving (unwrapped) presents under our tree. I also have fond memories of driving around our town looking at various lights and decorations. Our yard/house was something to be rivaled; I only wish we had thought to take pictures.

Having a child makes Christmas all the more special. There is nothing quite like seeing a child's excitement about Santa (or in Jordan's case, a mixture of fear, respect, and a bit of awe) in general and Christmas morning in particular. I so enjoy decorating with Jordan a few weeks out. And I encourage Jordan to write and rewrite her Christmas list for the writing practice as much as to see what she is thinking about.

Speaking of Christmas lists, I heard one of my favorite Christmas songs on the radio this morning, "Grown-up Christmas List." I wanted to share some of the lyrics with you, in case you have never heard of it. I fully realize that this time of year is hard on a lot of people, particularly those who have recently (and even not so recently) lost someone. The economy also does not help make many merry. And I personally have been feeling a little down lately with my mother being so far away and not in tip-top health and my having had no work (subbing or freelance) in about four weeks.

Nevertheless, I want to try to embrace this season, for the magic, the hope, the beauty, the joy, and for Jesus.

Grown-Up Christmas List

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list


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