RSS

Tag Archives: The Christmas Story

COSMIC HOPE

The Christmas Story

Do you know what I discovered last week?  Black women saved Alabama’s soul and, ultimately, America’s with the trouncing of Roy Moore—that racist, pervert, accused pedophile, and abomination to the name of Christianity who tried to railroad his way into the U.S. Senate.  You’re welcome, America!  Even though I don’t live in Alabama, I am a Black woman, an Evangelical (until they do something that makes me throw up in my mouth), and a person who is used to seeing miracles.   I know it seems hard to believe, but not every Christian in America has sold his or her soul to the Devil Trump and his minions—just enough of them have done so to make the rest of us occasionally wonder if there really is a God.  So there you have it:  God showed up in Alabama through Black women, therefore, thus did hope re-surge in me for the times ahead.  All is not lost, my Peeps.

Evangelicals an Moore in Hell Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

As I meditated on that unexpected burst of hope that came out of the Doug Jones win in Alabama, I felt this explosion of happiness and joy in my soul which got me to thinking about Christmas.  (Of course, I was decorating the Christmas tree at the time, sipping champagne, and singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of my lungs, so thinking about Christmas might not have been a huge stretch of the imagination.)  Contrary to what Fox News, paranoid White Evangelicals, and Trump would have you believe, there is no war on Christmas (trust me).  Nobody cares if you say Merry Christmas or Happy Everything, just so long as you say it with love and good intentions.  We’ve been bombarded with Christmas this and that here, there, and everywhere since the day before Halloween.  Nobody in America has a problem saying “Merry Christmas”—just a problem living it.  Christmas has been “lost in translation” and left on the cutting room floor in our country for a very long time.

Star Wars FB Dave Granlund Politicalcartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com

This week I started asking any and everybody what Christmas meant to them.  Some said “family,” too many said “expensive,” others said “stress,” many said “fun,” a half dozen said “I’m Jewish, or Muslim, or atheist,”  others said, “abandoned,” a few said “Santa with lots of toys on his sleigh” (granted, they were under ten years old), and several said a “colossal pain in the ass—I’ll be glad when it is over!” I could have sworn that at least one person said “bah, humbug,” but I’m not sure. My grandson said Christmas meant “going to see Star Wars” when he comes to visit in a few days and “finding the new Xbox One LEGO Marvel Super Heroes under the tree on Christmas morning—please Mema, pleeaaaaassse!”  No one who I asked about the meaning of Christmas said what Christmas truly is: freedom from oppression, hope, joy, peace, love, comfort for the marginalized, and healing for the abused.

Xmas attitude Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

I was slightly mortified by all the responses (including my grandson’s), if the truth be known.  I wondered: “How did Christmas get hi-jacked from the broken-hearted and the oppressed by the paranoid religious White people, inadequate Bible translations, and Wall Street.  Every year I try to figure out a way to translate the goodness of God into our holiday celebrations so my grandson can understand the true meaning of Christmas.  But every year something gets lost in translation in his young mind:  “So what’s a virgin? Are you trying to tell me, Jesus had two daddies AND a mommy?  What’s a frankincense and myrrh—is that like bubble bath and Chuck’s flea soap?”

In a world where nine-year-olds are committing suicide because of bullying, a child dies of hunger every seven seconds, and refugees and asylum-seekers have topped 65 million according to the UN, my grandson is going to need more from the Christmas story then gazing at a White baby Jesus in a manger once a year (Jesus was a Jew, so what’s up with the blond, blue-eyed savior?) and militantly saying “Merry Christmas” simply to prove a point. As a young Black man, he’s going to need lots of hope and courage to get through this life!  So I decided to rewrite the Christmas story in a way he would understand and leave the frankincense and myrrh to the Bible literalists.

Frankenstein

Courtesy of Christian Funny Pictures

 

THE CHRISTMAS STORY AS TOLD BY MEMA TO BABY BOY

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a very mean king by the name of Caesar Augustus ruled over all the world—or as much as he could capture under Roman rule.  Caesar Augustus thought that he was all that and a bag of chips—kind of like Donald Trump.  In fact, CA thought he was God—much like Donald Trump. Actually, he was awful and very cruel. I’m told that he once said:  “I could run over a bunch of Jews with my chariot in the middle of Jerusalem and my Roman supporters would not care.  I truly am king of the world.”  If you were a Roman citizen and rich, life was pretty awesome, but if you were a Jew, a non-Roman, or poor, life was the pits.  People cried all of the time because they were not free to live their lives as they wished and they didn’t have enough money and food to take care of their families. Many people were slaves to the Romans. It had been this way for a very, very long time.  So much so that it caught God’s attention.

GOD:  Gabriel, my angel, what is going on in the Earth I’ve created?  In all the years since I first breathed life into humans, I’ve never heard such a hue and cry. 

GABE:  Pardon me, my Lord, but I beg to differ.  We had an issue with that bad Pharaoh a while back, remember?  Had to raise up an outstanding guy named Moses, part the Red Sea, and escape with hundreds of people into the desert for about forty years.  It seems as if this time, it’s a Roman, not an Egyptian causing all the mayhem.

GOD:  Oh, yes!  I remember.  What is it with these humans?  There is always some nutty leader trying to impersonate me but with the character of the Devil.  You give them a little bit of talent, a few smarts, and it all goes to their heads.  They start lording it over each other, abusing people, treating each other like pond scum.  Oy vez mir!  I’m telling you Gabe, humans are getting on my every last nerve.  They better not make me come down there, or they will have Hell to pay.

GABE:  Eureka, my Lord!  Maybe that’s exactly what you should do.  You made the blueprint of why humans were created, and not one group of them has ever done the right thing by each other since their inception.  They think they know you, but they don’t have a clue as to your character.  What if you went down to Earth and hung out with them for a few years—showed them how to treat each other and the Earth you gave them?

Save us from ourselves Bob Englehart PoliticalCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart PoliticalCartoons com

GOD:  Hum… that’s not a bad idea. Except, I’m made up of all sorts of energy and matter.  If I interact with them face-to-face, they’ll implode.  It will be as if they flew to close to the sun.  That would defeat my purpose.

GABE:  Not if you cloaked a portion of yourself (your son) in the costume of a human.  Since there are three parts of you (Father, Son, and the feminine Holy Spirit), surely you could spare one part of you for a while.  I propose that you do a real sci-fi thing: slip into the Earth’s atmosphere as a fetus, get yourself born, hang out for as long as you can take it (maybe 33 years or so), show them how to live, and find some way to get ejected off the Earth and back into the heavens.   In fact, I’m thinking of a pretty powerful way you can exit stage left that would really complete the circle of sacrificial love that you have for them.  It would involve some nails and wood, and be rather painful in your human form.  But you could handle it. 

GOD:  I do love them so.  Can’t help myself.  When they’re good, they’re very good, but when they are bad… eiy, yi, yi!  Okay, find me a vessel through which to make my entrance.

GABE:  Already on it.  Her name’s Mary.  Just got engaged to a real stand up dude by the name of Joseph.  He’s mature enough to be your earthly father once he gets over the shock that his future wife is the temporary shuttle for the son of God.

GOD:  Cool.  We’ll need to alert a few of my peeps to let them know I’m in their midst since I’ll be a baby with no language skills.  Get the ad department to draft an announcement.  Send it out to the shepherds since they are usually the only ones hanging out at night under the stars.  They’ll spread the word. 

GABE:  Got it.  I think I’ll lead the angels in the proclamation myself, Sir.  How’s this:

 “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord…  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace…” 

GOD:  Awesome!  Excellent Gabriel.  The hope just radiates from that proclamation makes me tingle all over.  Do you think the shepherds will believe it?

News of Jesus Birth Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

GABE:  It’s worth a try.  If you don’t go down soon they will devour each other and there will be no humans left in a millennium or two.  They are not getting better—they’re getting worse.

GOD:  This is so exciting!  I have so much to show them about what it really means to be human.  Do they even realize that I created them in my likeness?  Do they understand that that likeness is the personification of love and joy?  I want to tell them that murder, hatred, theft, and cruelty are not why they were created.  They need to know that every soul has great worth—no matter who they are or where they were born.  I’ve got to teach them how to love one other, because my law is love, and my gospel is peace.  Come on Gabe, let’s pull together some genes, some DNA, and some chromosomes and get this baby entry pod cookin’!  People of Earth, hope is on its way!  From this day forward, all oppression shall cease!

Light of Christ Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon used by permission: Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

 

ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA” MOMENT) ON THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

I am discovering that humans have always been in peril from other humans since the beginning of man. I am also discovering that my hope is not in man, in political parties, or even in myself.  My hope is that the true character of God will triumph in the Earth as well as in my own heart.  No evil lasts forever and no true love will ever die, and that is why Jesus came to Earth.  God’s love and hope is what Christmas means to me.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, AND PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!

Love, Eleanor

 

 

Hope Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon used by permission: Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

 

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT HOPE

 “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”—Desmond Tutu

 “The message of Jesus is summed up partly in the Sermon on the Mount, and partly when he begins his ministry and quotes the passage from Isaiah: ‘I have come to set free the prisoners and restore sight to the blind.’ And certainly, his mission is also to bring hope. It was to heal people, to befriend the outcast.”—Dan Wakefield

“For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.”—Henri Nouwen

***

THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK:  “The Fetus Chronicles:  Podcasts From my Miseducated Self” is on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST INTERVIEW?  Check out the podcast interview with Leo Brown: http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/

Christ is born Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Cartoon used by permission: Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

ELEANOR’S CHRISTMAS LETTER TO FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND BLOG FANS

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  No matter how hard I try, I don’t have anything original to say about Christmas.  I’ve almost worried myself into a heart attack this week trying to come up with something pithy to say in my 2011 Christmas letter.  I got nothing—bupkis!   It’s all been done.  After days of fretting, the only thing I can say is that my three favorite Christmas stories are A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation by John Hughes, and The Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd.  Put those three stories together (which I watch every year) and you’ll get my humorous take on all things Christmas.

I will tell you that in my 63 years of existence, my Christmases have been touched by horror and by deep pain, but they have also been graced with weird wonderment and joy, while being tangled up in multiple cords of three-twined commercialism, with massive bows of:  if the family portrait of what you think Christmas is supposed to be can go wrong, it will go wrong.  My first Christmas was my first memory in life (three years old), and it found me trying to rescue my one and only toy off the top of a frozen eviction pile heaped high outside a padlocked house in The Cleve, while my mother dissolved into her first wave of schizophrenia right before my eyes.  But that is the opening to my memoir (When Monsters Come Out to Play), so that Christmas story can’t be told here but hopefully will have the good fortune of being published next year.  Are you listening, Santa, Baby?

You can imagine since I met my husband (White and Wonderful) thirty-eight years ago, that I have tried to “live the Christmas dream” I never had when it came to creating a wonderful holiday for my children.  I always thought that if Christmas was great for the kids, then it would translate to our children all was right with the world.  Sometimes I hit the target right in the bull’s-eye, and sometimes I missed it by a mile.  Because as a family, you’ll never know who or what’s going to show up (or not show up) on any given Christmas, given the fine print on every family Christmas photo that says, “Have a Merry Christmas, but don’t forget when it comes to humans—all kinds of shit can hit the fan.”

Google Image

All of us have the illusion that the “heart” of our family Christmases should look like an 1800’s postcard which shows an adoring family, grateful for their modest gifts (no brats screaming in protest about the presents they didn’t get), wise and caring grandparents (not grumpy or cranky at all), and contentment with our lot in life, because we’ve only known good bounty from the hand of a loving God.  Even I have this Christmas illusion which is pretty pathetic because there are never any black people to be found in these “perfect” portraits.  Have you ever noticed that?

Google Image

If I were putting paint on canvas, my portrayal of Christmas would always be with warm colors, cordial people (including black and brown people all over the painting), loving smiles full of laughter and joy, and lots of good food and drink.  No one would ever get sick—no one would ever be short-tempered.  No family member would ever get Alzheimer’s, and no women would get breast cancer.  No planes would ever be late traveling home for Christmas, no toilets would ever overflow, no parents would ever argue, no teenagers would ever run away, no one would die on or near Christmas, no parent would lose his/her job, and no home would be foreclosed upon.  But the problem we all live with is that we all have weird relatives (and we’re just a little bit crazy ourselves), patchy histories, economic downturns, latent jealousies, death in our midst, and unresolved hurts.  So when we gather together for the holidays we sit down before the Christmas tree with a powder-keg of the crazies in a Griswold moose glass for our family Christmas toast.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation “Eggnog Moose Glass”/Google Image

Addams Family/Google Image

Some of us share Christmas with parents who love each other in a weird sort of way, but the kids are bat-shit crazy and borderline psychotic.  Of course, upon closer analysis of the extended family (uncle, grandmamma, and the butler), we see why the kids never had a chance to be sane and in reality should never be left alone with the uncle, grandmamma, or (god-forbid) Lurch, the butler.

The Griswolds (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)/Google Image

Before the economic downturn, many of us had slightly upper middle-class families where the husband worked at some ball-crushing job just living for his year-end bonus that he managed to lose just before Christmas.  That bonus would have made everything “perfect” for his family—from award-winning holiday lights and tree—to the perfect roast, perfect gifts, and ultimate Christmas family portrait.  The only problem is that neither he nor his family is perfect, and no matter how upper-middle class you and I become, we’ll always have the type of relatives who join us for the holidays because we have money and they don’t, who proudly announce:  “Shitters full!”  They belong to us for a reason—they are God’s gift to keep us humble.

 

The Gallaghers in “Shameless”/Google Image

There are a few of us (maybe a lot more now since the emergence of the 99%) who grew up with the Gallaghers (of Showtime fame) as a family, and we are a mess as a family unit—“every six ways from Sunday.”  This was more my type of family base as a kid—only instead of alcohol being the co-parent, schizophrenia was.

 

Huxtable TV Family/Google Image

Most of us would like to be the Huxtable family—smart and beautiful—with a lawyer and doctor for parents who are just perfect with children.  The children are smart, respectful, and never, ever do drugs or walk on the wild side.  All their family crises can be solved in 30 minutes.  This is the exact type of family I tried to recreate with my own children once I became an adult (with an uber-Christian patina), given my ignoble beginnings (minus two of the kids and recasting Bill Cosby as a white man to match WW, of course).  But unlike the TV sitcom where the events are controlled by writers, “shit happens,” and reality really messes with the Huxtable image in a way no sitcom script could ever convey and still remain funny.

I am discovering that we all have the ability to have a couple of perfect Christmases, but “perfect” is not always our due.  With the DNA of our families, the sins we’ve committed against each other, and the devastation of living on Earth and what it can do to us, all we can do is dip ourselves in love and hope for the best when we cross the same threshold.  This year our family will come together in its total configuration, for the first time in a long time, and we are beyond ecstatic about this holiday because we know more than life itself, it is about us all being together—laughing, eating too much, cuddling, watching movies, cooking together, and sharing portions of the scary stories of our journeys that have made us the resilient family that we are.  But before anybody steps foot in my house (family, friend, or fan), I’m making all my guests read and observe the following Christmas vacation rules:

Leave your egos at the door

Come together with a servant’s heart willing to help each other

Share (just like in kindergarten)

Let go of your anger

Embrace each other with love and forgiveness

Repent for the wrongs you’ve done to one another

Flush the memories of the hurts done to you down the toilet

Don’t rehash the past (what is done is done and it can’t be undone)

Appreciate everything you receive as a present, even if you don’t wear hats or listen to country music

Listen (really listen with every fiber of your being) to each other’s stories, because they carry multiple secrets about our joys, our pain, our hopes, and our dreams

For the uber-religious in our midst—turn down the volume and listen (don’t, I say, DON’T go ballistic like you did that time over an Obama for President button pinned to a wig-head stand [to tell you the truth, I had forgotten it was there], assuming you knew what I was thinking).  Remember, “When you assume, you make an ass. . .”

No disparaging gay jokes or racial humor!

  Bring genuine hugs and kisses because that works for all genders and races. 

For the “I don’t believe in God”—unplug your ears and listen, you may learn something.

Say “I love you” in a sincere manner at least once to every family member and friend before you leave.

No politics allowed!

We all know what you feel about everything—we’ve seen your Facebook pages, remember.  We’re just going to come together as “family” and our only political platform is love.

Actually, I didn’t quite get it right at the beginning of this Christmas letter.  My favorite Christmas story which infuses all Christmas stories is the original one—the birth of my Messiah, whose name they called “Immanuel.”   Immanuel means, “God with us,” and it means to me the hope and healing needed to survive our families and the other families of man that don’t quite get it right when it comes to cherishing our hearts and our existence, our bodies, and our dreams.

Merry Christmas to you and to us all

And

May the love of God be with you and yours, today and everyday!

In any case, if you need me or want to get in touch, I’ll be home for Christmas.  Love, Eleanor

The Author

“A scientist said, making a plea for exchange scholarships between nations, ‘The very best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.’ That was what happened at Christmas. The idea of divine love was wrapped up in a Person.” – Halford E. Luccock

All text and photos by Eleanor and John Tomczyk © 2011 , except where otherwise noted.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
45 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,