I'm trying to get a security clearance for work. The application required me to list the addresses of all the places I've lived since 2005. No big, I thought. And then I actually thought.
Who in hell's tarnation moves 16 times in 7 years?
I didn't event attempt to track down the 6 different addresses I had in Romania/Moldova, bringing the actual total to 22. "Crappy Communist block down pot-holed road from gypsy camp" should suffice.
It took me, like, thousands of hours to dig these addresses up. I racked my brain. I called old roommates. I got distracted and reminisced about...
...freshman year in the old Deseret Towers at BYU---so old they were being torn down while we were living in them.
...my first apartment. The one with the mildew on the bedroom ceiling.
...my host mom's apartment in Paris, with the off-limits piano room that my roommate and I were banned from.
...the town house where the first of a series of show-stopping dance parties took place.
...the duplex with the 70s-inspired wood paneling on the walls and the toilet that clogged every other day.
I had to review titles from past blog posts to ensure that I hadn't already used Vagabond. I've got Rover, Homeless, Hobo, and Hobo Pt.II. This goes to show what a roving, homeless hobo vagabond I am.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" while sitting at the bedside of his son Charles, who had been severely wounded in a Civil War battle. At the time, the Longfellow family was still mourning the recent death of their mother in a house fire. In the face of war and the tragic loss of loved ones, this beloved and inspired poet never doubted the existence and love of God. May his words serve as a reminder to all of us that He "is not dead, nor doth he sleep."
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said: "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!"
I just love kids. (Especially the real turdy, mischievous ones.) Hence, the Charlie Brown post from last week and my obvious obsession with Paint, which I started around age 10 and never grew out of. So I'll let the chillins do the talking on this Happy Sunday.
1. Make sure one of your friends is in the military.
There is a place called USO (don't know what that acronym means but I'm calling it Moocher's Paradise) somewhere near Times Square where military peeps can go for discounted Broadway/off-Broadway tickets. We went to see what they had to offer and low and behold--FREE Blue Man Group tickets! [Disclaimer: This show is disturbing and hilarious and mostly weird. But enjoyable nonetheless because we didn't have to pay a cent for our $90 seats. Basically what I'm saying is, don't go to this unless it's free.] On top of that, there is a whole lounge area with piano, Foosball, leather couches, computers, and enough free soda and Girl Scout cookies to feed an army (no pun intended).
2. Disregard all "suggested donations."
If you don't mind the awkwardness of the cashier at the Metropolitan Museum of Art cursing you in her head as you hand her a few scrappy dollar bills for a group of 4, when the "suggested donation" is $25 per person, you will save yourselves a collective $96 that can otherwise be spent on dinner...for, like, a week....unless you just eat Girl Scout cookies at the aforementioned USO...
3. Sit on the cold pavement in the wee hours of the morning.
For the real nitty gritty taste of NYC, one must spend at least a few hours bumming like a hobo on the ground, inhaling the exhaust of passing delivery trucks, inches away from gutter trash, un-showered body and un-brushed teeth. All in the hopes of getting *extraordinarily* discounted Broadway tickets. After 3 hours of numb toes, morning breath, and trivia games to pass the time, we got $40 tickets to "Once" (reg. price: $97-$252). If that wasn't good enough news, turns out we got our own private box seats!
To get this season off to a proper start, a clip from my favorite Christmas movie:
Amid all the thousands of holiday specials on TV throughout the month of December, this is the only one you will find that addresses the true meaning of Christmas and straight up word-for-word recites Luke's account of the birth of Christ.
It's very touching. A Charlie Brown Christmas has withstood years of persecution from Atheists, political extremists and others who misunderstand the Constitution to read "Freedom FROM religion" instead of "Freedom OF religion." And on their mission to promote fairness, they smother what is most precious and sacred to so many.
I purchased the show on DVD in preparation for the day it would be tragically ripped from the airwaves in the name of political correctness. I certainly hope that day never comes, but you gotta do what you gotta do if you want your children to grow up with the slightest notion that pure, unadulterated religious content was once a part of American media.
I am so excited for this Christmas season. I am excited to keep Christ at the center of all that I do and think. I am excited to prepare spiritually every day so that Christmas day isn't just another busy day that I get distractedly and materialistically caught up in. I'm ashamed to admit that every Christmas isn't as pure, real, simplistic as I'd like it to be. But it has been before. And it will be again.
God bless you all, and may the miracle of Christ's birth and the light He brought into this world guide the season.