There was a 'White Elephant' gift exchange at my job today. I finally got involved, for the first time ever. (I couldn't last year because I needed plausible deniability, as I was still a JW on paper at the time.) Granted, I really didn't care at all about doing it, any more than I care about Christmas itself. I merely saw no moral problems with it as I once did. It was...refreshing to finally be...'one of them', instead of feeling terrified that a 'Temple of Doom' style sacrificial rite was going to happen once the gift exchange began.
I managed to get a calendar/calculator, an ink pen, a business card holder, and a letter opener, all in a boxed set. Pretty nice. I had the option of trading with someone, and wanted to get the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition Widescreen VHS tapes, but...I already have several copies of Star Wars on DVD and VHS. Getting another one would've been just plain greedy.
It was actually very calm and a lot of fun to watch. There was one guy who was just cracking jokes the entire time. It was fun. Nobody bowed down to any pagan gods or did anything other than unwrap boxes and trade gifts with each other. It was like a game show, in a way. Everybody got something in the end, and many people even got what they wanted out of all that.
Now I think I understand a little better what Christmas is all about. It's not just about getting a gift; it's about everyone giving a gift. Everyone receives, and everyone gives.
I can't imagine Jesus would be angry to see people giving gifts to each other just because of some pagan idea from 5,000 years ago that most people either don't know or don't care about. If that's how he is, then he'd be mad at every wedding, obsessing over how screwed up the pagan calendar is, furious over the pinata getting busted open...in short, pretty mad all year. I mean...granted, the divine being has loads of patience, but...if he executed a guy for picking up wood on a Saturday, do you really think he'd tolerate all the crap going on on this planet?
Anyway, it was a nice day today. I've been sick lately, so has my whole family. But this morning I woke up and felt...you know, I think, once again, the immune system has done its job. I'm still a bit stuffed up and could certainly use a long night's rest, but I'm happy. Things are so much better at home, much less tension. I think there's real hope for my marriage, after all. Year 2 is going pretty well, overall.
With depression and pressures from the JW religion weighing on me for so long, I feel like I'm finally starting to see my way ahead. There will probably always be anger at the Society and its agents, and there will always be those urges to monitor each month's WT or the yearly blitz of new publications. But...I guess that's my war now. I'm free now, and I know there's nothing else Jehovah's Witnesses can do to hurt me. I no longer worry about what my old congregation thinks, or how the elders in my wife's congregation feel. They're just people, and there are tons of people whose feelings about me have never changed and wouldn't change because my beliefs did. I am worth something no matter what I believe.
For frak's sake, enjoy your Christmas. Give to everyone you can. Take care.