Tuesday, December 04, 2007

celebrating Advent as a single woman away from home This is my first time to celebrate Advent. And, I'm excited about it. One of my biggest desires is to rebuild anticipation into the season . . . to recapture wonder and awe . . . but instead of directed towards the concept of Christmas as it was when I was a child . . . to direct towards love of my Savior. After being away from home for five Christmases so far I've come to the conclusion that being away from family at Christmas time is hard--uh, I probably could have told you that after just the first one. And, I think that being single and barren at Christmas is also really hard--this is a family holiday. So, what's a girl to do when she is single, childless, and living across the ocean from her family? Once I tried basically ignoring it and pretending it didn't really matter. A few times I tried to only focus on it on Christmas Day--to think about it for a whole month would just be too difficult. But, last year, I changed. . . I made it a point to make it special and started to build my own traditions. I also discovered Advent and decided that this year I would celebrate it. So, for the first time, I am fully embracing the holiday as a single adult on my own. I am building my own traditions . . . that hopefully I will one day be able to share with my husband and children. I am creating things now that I hope to use with my kids. . . and if I never have children, I will share them with my little neighbors and use them myself. But I am refusing to play the ostrich this year. Sticking my head in the sand and pretending this holiday isn't really there--which is easy when no one around really celebrates it--isn't an option. I will spend this month in awe and wonder . . . in anticipation. Christ has come and is going to return. He is our hope. Our salvation. Oh what glorious, wonderful news!
proof i was not exaggerating Yesterday, when I talked about all the fireworks and firecrackers and all the noise I could hear, I wasn't exaggerating for effect. You don't have to take my word for it, you can actually see and hear for yourself. Another foreigner living in Tainan also wrote about the temple celebrations that went on this weekend. He even went to explore the reason for the celebration and took videos of some of it. He reports: "that temples from all over Taiwan came to Tainan to throw a party for the 300 years birthday for one of the oldest temples in Taiwan - the Koxinga temple. Zheng Cheng Kung, Koxinga, is a Chinese-Japanese local hero who 'liberated' Taiwan from the Dutch during the 17th (?) century, and who [his] university is named after. Since they celebrate this event every 30 years, this was a 10th anniversary for the 30th anniversary." He captured some of the non-stop fireworks: __ He also captured one of the idols being carried "over the firework remains in a strange go-forward go-left go-right go-back kind of dance." This is in fact how all idols (that I've seen at least) are carried when they are marched down a street or go on a "god parade." This carrying of the god can be seen about 30 seconds into this video: __ And, he also captured one of the dragon dances I guessed were happening: __ Right in the middle of the street! This video is of fireworks and part of a god parade with some of the music I told you I could hear in my living room:

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