Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

As I natter, I'm simmering black-eyed peas and rice. To prevent Shonda's stroke, let me quickly add that the whole thing came out of a box and will complete its culinary trek in a mere twenty-five minutes. It's part of my contribution to a spur-of-the-moment New Year's Eve party tonight. Another part is the molasses cookies I won't get around to baking. In an earlier decade, I would have soldiered ahead and made the cookies anyhow. These days, I'm not willing to make much of an effort toward anything. I think I finally see how little most things matter. That's not depressing. It's freeing.

I just ran across this horrifying phrase: The Feast of Christ's Circumcision. I know that Christians believe that Jesus was fully human, and since he was also fully Jewish, of course he'd have been circumcised. When I was growing up, we really didn't pay that much attention to his humanity, since it had already happened and was done with, after all. I remember as a Born Again Christian in the early seventies -- yeah ... I wasn't even cool enough to have been a Jesus Freak. Nooooo. I had to go and be a Born Again Christian without the hyphen -- I remember having the revelation that Jesus had wet dreams. This struck me as not at all disrespectful or glib. If he truly were human, then he'd have had wet dreams. He was a boy, for Christ's sake. Well, not Christ's, not yet. He's just Jesus till he dies and is resurrected; then he gets to be the Christ.

Nonetheless, The Feast of Christ's Circumcision just sounds so ... so ... personal. Yeah. None of my business. And hardly festive. I don't know enough about Judaism to know when that would have been, but I know enough about the life of Christ to know no one would know, you know? Good heavens! Scholars don't even agree on when he was born (let alone if). How could anyone know about the bris?

Okay. I checked in with Judaism 101 (for real) and found out that brit milah takes place on the eighth day of the boy's life. Again, I blame Olga for this. She positively harps on learning things here at my blog.

That phrase and "the ripening of the orange crop in California" both came up as I searched for New Year's Eve traditions. Whatever did we do without the internet?

Well, here's my personal tradition. I go to sleep -- alone -- on New Year's Eve and then am awakened by the fireworks at midnight. I get out of bed, pull on some fabric, and go stand on my porch. Yep. There are the fireworks down by the water, and some lesser, Grade B noises and colors from the neighborhood. Back to bed.

That was the plan for this year, too, but Vicki made the call and told me about the spontaneous fire-pit party. Hence the black-eyed peas. I'm told that's a southern tradition. Well, I am geographically in the South, and have been for twenty-three years, but we all know that St. Petersburg -- let alone Gulfport -- is not really The South. Culturally, we're probably in Eastern Ohio.

Uh oh. My pants are on fire. I just stuck a pan full of chocolate-chip cookie dough into the oven, but instead of the chips, it's the young M&Ms just starting out in the business. So much for, what was it? how little most things matter? Yeah, well, I guess when it comes to sugar and butter, it matters a lot.

10 ... 9 ... 8 ...

1 comment:

Barbara said...

From EUNICE ...

In Luke's gospel, Chapter 2, Verse 21, following the story of Jesus's birth, it says:

"And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb."

(Leave it to the Protestants to know their Bible....)

So IF we knew the exact date of Jesus's birth (certainly not in December; some scholars speculate maybe in April), we could pin down the date of his circumcision.