And So This Is Christmas

Friend: 'Any plan for Christmas?'
Me : 'Nope. I think I will just go to the church'
Friend: 'Same here. Maybe I should just clean up my room, watch Sang Pemimpi. I also want to go for star gazing'.
Me: 'I guess it might be good, to have a real 'silent-night' Christmas'

It's christmas time and all around we can hear those typical Christmas songs played over and over again. O Holy Night, God Bless Ye Merry, Gentleman, in one CD with Last Christmas. Well, it maybe a loss or it could be a gain, when artists created Christmas songs without any philosophical thought on the born baby (arbitrarily celebrated on 25th December). Songs like Blue Christmas, All I Want For Christmas is You, Last Christmas, and even Christmas Song and Jingle Bells. They are nice songs with nice tune and they make you miss your family and beloved ones *snob.

It is a loss. Those songs simply put Christmas as a mark of seasonal holidays and celebrations. As a child, I think of Christmas as a time for shopping, gifts, new clothes and shoes, decorated trees, illuminations, a short speech of some short biblical prophetic verses and of course holidays. As a teenage girl, I welcome Christmas with anxiety (am I wearing perfect gown?), whimsical thought of mistletoe, unique card greetings, hectic and haste for extravagance parties and ceremonies, and maybe a little bit of (just a bit) of contemplation.

While now, I embrace Christmas (again) as a mark of the end of the year, and (again) holidays. It's the end of my contract, my job, and the beginning of series of wandering journey to come. It's the time to call all families (including the long ignored ones), emails writing, to delete messages from my cell phone inbox, to 'pay homage' to church. It's the time for some bogus 'love' celebrations, for some kids perform dance and drama for the sake of big grin on the old folks faces and sometimes for routine caroling. It's not wrong, though.

Since weeks ago, my friends has been ringing the ultimate question 'What do you plan for Christmas?'. I have been asking it too. So where's the savior, where's the sacrifice, where's the humility of being a mere human, where's the contemplation of grace, where's the praise for Divine humbleness? Where's the baby Jesus? If you're lucky you can find him on your church decorations, still lying on the manger.

It seems to me, we lose some Christ in our Christmas. Christ is only present in the wording: Christ-mas

The songs are not to be solely blamed. No, it's just a tiny part of this whole thing (I don't know what to call it) of worn-out, tiring Christmas. I can find some orientalism here :). It's totally pervasive. It's everywhere. It's your decorations, it's your longing for winter (most of us never even see snow shower, and many will never have the chance), it's your feeling of lunatic loneliness (is Christmas designed to be the time for family?). And its mine as well. But to condemn those pervasive 'western' cultures (you may call it) is the same pathetic orientalism.

So, anyway, what's the gain? Well, I can give you a long list of how fun it is to have this kind of Christmas. Holidays, new clothes, gifts. But that's what you call our loss, you may protest. That's it! I am driven to think of all those losses simply as my negative perspective (I have to admit, I can be very cynical -most of the times-). For now, at least, by realizing those losses (which came from my negative perspective) I come to the part where I start to think over the whole ideas of Christmas.

And so, my first attempt will depart from the above conversations between me and my friend. "I guess it might be good, to have a real 'silent-night' Christmas". It was (I'm 99% sure) a silent night. :)

ANYWAY, Happy Christmas and Happy Holiday, everyone!

~Welcome To Our World, by Michael W Smith~

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at hom

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

A Good Investment

One day, I went somewhere on vacation with my fam. This conversation was happened while we were riding the narrow road among plateaus, green pasture, hundreds small houses. It was between my mom and my youngest sister Audy (10 years old).

Audy: This place is amazing !!! (amazed and wowing through the window). I wonder if there's any place more wonderful than this one.

Mom: Sure lot! You haven't place your feet on more than 4 provinces yet and that's only in Indonesia.

Audy: Yeaah! That's it, Mom!! I'm gonna get rich someday and travel all around Indonesia.. all around the world (showing greedy grin)

Mom: Money doesn't grow on tree! Study well then!! Maybe you can bring me somewhere around the globe (was trying to motivate my idly Audy)

Audy: (after a few moments of silence) I know now!!! You made many kids of your own so that when they grow up, you can take a lot from them. Travel here and there, buy this and that. So I understand now, that's what parents think of. But I ain't gonna fooled (snuffled). Sorry Mom, my own is mine!

Mom: (shrugged) You're not really a good investment (smiled to my pop who grinned, really did enjoy the conversation)

And so for me, that short conversation epitomizes the whole bunch of scholarly discourses, discontents, debates, and dialectics on children and childhood. Is kid a mere investment to her parents? Are children important because society invest a lot on them, on their childhood?

Or could it be that there no such thing as investment in childhood, it is just nothing more than investment in adulthood? Since children are matter because their potentiality of being the next adults (to work painstakingly to pay for parents pension :D )?

I'm gonna write about it

#I'm not any better investment too :)


Celebrating My Stoic Aunty

I have a big big family especially from my mom's side. My mom is the eldest of 9, with 5 sisters and 3 brothers. So, I have 5 aunties, and 3 uncles (really, I wonder how much stress my grandma endured all of those years).

All of my 5 aunties -all of them- had their own special times baby sited me and my siblings. Some for consecutive 4 years and more, others just for several months. One by one then, they left my house to do some real grown up works and got married with children. Now they all have their own families....except the youngest (who in fact not to be called young anymore, she's 31 next January).

She's the boldest, the most independent, the most carefree, the most enjoyable aunty one can ever hope to have. She's just 8 years older than me. So sometimes I call her by name -and add aunty at the end of my sentence- and she calls me Klak -my popular public name ;p- not Rara or Clara like the rest of my families. It's just like having a big sister.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, I stayed at my grannies for couple of days (my parents went on family business or something). While I was there, she didn't go to school. I asked her," Why don't you go to school? There is no holiday. Other aunties are going." She answered me," I have special holidays in my school." I just nodded. Those couple of days I played around with her, making fake stupid biographies of other aunties, doing some traditional "inai" pedicure, looking for caterpillars and put them on a jar, I never saw them meta-morphed into butterflies.

Living in Jakarta since 2002, she earns her life by teaching English for kids and I assume she is wealthy enough for happy-go-lucky life (not really an assumption, everyone in my family knows she has big amount of saving).

Nevertheless, she never drown into luxurious life she can afford (in some measures for Jakarta dwellers). Her biggest dream is to travel around the world. Well, classic it may sounds, but that's what her saving is for. She went to Germany once and has made Berlin her starting point to conquer the earth.

The most enjoyable aunty she is.
I dance with her, I laugh and mock people with her (I mock her, she mocks me), I wander the city with her (and got lost in that cobble stones jungle) and daydream while eating ice scream with her. Where to borrow money, where to sleep, where to ask for help is unquestionably her.

And above all she always has this combination of stoicalness while at the same time she exhibits capacity to treasure all the fun, all the downs and ups, all the pains. Any certain condition as worst as it gets, as good as it gets, never gets the best of her.

I wonder if it's related to her being the youngest of 9. She was born when my mom reached age 18. I bet she was exposed to a hell amount of growing up issues of her 5 sisters and 3 brothers, ranging from teenage drama queens to that foolish hormonal lunatic songs of my uncles. So she used to play around alone.

Just like last week, when she text messaged me:

"Kla, how are you? We get series of blackouts here. I was just visited by Jehovah's witness, so I told him/her I wanted to go on some business. But I don't know where to go now. The class is on holiday hahahahaha"

and I replied "Repent, you sinner!! hahahahaha. O y I'll be having TOTAL 1st interview, long way to France.Pray for me, will y?"

and she replied with her stoic tune as always," Yup, I bet there are many sins written on my face. I always pray for you -see I'm already repent-. Got to go now, heading for nowhere"

She once told me, she came from a land above the sky - a sky country, a sky kingdom-. Part of me didn't believe it, but other part want to know the story. So I listened to her own made fairy tale (I even asked, is drink jar in sky country different from what we have here on earth?).

and I guess she has taken me believe that she came from a land above the sky.