Monday, December 11, 2006

Counting Ones Blessings

I received an email message going around: a Christmas PowerPoint presentation that basically says, "Be grateful, count your blessings, because you are in better shape than most people around the world."

Now, I am all for counting my blessings, but please don't say "you didn't go to bed hungry; you are better off than 1 billion people." It is as if whoever wrote the piece is shaming us into counting our blessings."

I love Christmas; it is my favorite time of the year. And I have many blessings; I think more of them around Christmastime. But I don't want someone to emotionally blackmail me into feeling grateful.

As John­son Oat­man, Jr., wrote in 1897: "Count your blessings, name them one by one."

I know there are a lot of people who don't go to church. Around Christmas, I sort of wish people wouldn't go to church. I know this is not very Christian of me. Let me try to explain.

For Catholics, we have a term for parishioners who tend to go to church during the major holidays, "C&E Catholics." These are Catholics who seem to show up around Christmas and Easter.

I know. I know. If I were a real Christian/Catholic, I would be pleased any time someone attends Mass. Yeah, you are right. You are right. But here is the rub: when we have so many people attending Mass, it is hard to find a seat, let alone a good seat. I don't mind the parking problems – hubbie just parks on the grass – but I do mind being in the middle of a row, stacked like sardines and me having to pee. That's not conducent to hearing the word of God. I think I made a word up.

I like the children singing and the manger and the smell of pine in the church. That's all great. But all of the people. All the people. In my own mind, I feel like the Grinch ("All the noice, noice, noice.").

Me, Grinch that I am, I will count my blessings. Because, after all, I am being emotionally blackmailed.

17 comments:

LarryLilly said...

Tell me about it. As an altar boy, (my blog), Christmas and easter were a real bea-tch. Extra wafers to prepare, extra heavy offering plates, time pressure on services, which at my church, hourly services at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and noon, made the later like a rush at a stage show on opening night.

Right on Sister, only the faithful. Let us heathens stay home. (joking)

But then, even if only at easter, christmas and death, his work is never done.

kathi said...

I'd seen variations of this 'blessings' forward, but not this Christmas one. Some of the pictures were beautiful, I love snow and mountain pictures. I don't feel the 'blackmail' thing though, just honestly blessed. And, I don't know how accurate this thing is, but it says I'm in the worlds top 8% of wealthiest people...wow, that brings into prospective how incredibly poor our world is.

I've never heard of Oatman, Jr., but I've never been in an denominational church and this song sounded like something sung from a hymnal...but I LOVED the lyrics "Wealth can never buy
your reward in heaven, nor your home on high".

Tony said...

Yeah, C&E Catholics, C&E Baptists, C&E people. I think every religion has it's share of people that come out on the holidays to perform their "nod to God(s)" and proclaim their faith. Should I really be thankfull that they show up at all? I'm not sure. Some are individuals who profess to be Christians, others are people who want to be Christians but don't know how to go about it. It's the latter group I'm greatful for.

I'm blessed beyond belief. I don't need some email trying to put a guilt trip on me telling me how much better off I am than the rest of the world. Unless you're that individual who is in the worst predicament then this email will always apply. I don't ever plan on being that individual and if I ever become that individual I'll still have all my past blessings to count.

Besides, what constitutes a blessing?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Leesa, try "conducive"

drive to - like a bus conductor drives you to the next stop, or an orchestra conductor drives the orchestra to the next crescendo.

Being Catholic (or christian - or a believer) is not about attending a full house (or hearing the word of god) maybe you should try a pop or rock concert with 'gospel' music

But it is about counting your blessings.After all if you believe there is a god (a creator god) then it is only right to be thankful - not because an e-mail or church fellows blackmailed you

But because you 'feel' it
After all thanks or gratitude which is not 'genuine' is no thanks at all.
Saying thanks to grandma or whoever when you are given a present you don't need or detest - may be 'kind' to that person - but is of little or any value.

Imagine if you go past a beggar and give him a dollar - and he throws it back at you and says I can't even get a coffee or a burger for that, and believe me it does happen in Cambridge. Some Beggars look doen there nose at you if you give them less than a fiver, or at the very least a two pound coin - but these are just aggresive beggars or ingrates - and like all beggars trying to feed a drug habit, give a bad name to those in society who have nothing (not even enough for a cup of coffee) but are to proud or ashamed to bed.
Anyway I'm ranting on & on again.

Anonymous said...

Creationism and blessings. Funny!

On the upside! My car won't start today. Gleeful!

~Deb said...

Oh forget about it. When I used to go to midnight mass (before converting to Christianity)----it was a madhouse! It was like Macy's doing a half off sale.

Leesa said...

larry: I did not know you were an alter boy.

kathi: I have seen variations as well. I did not think some of the stats seemed right either.

tony: I did not know there were other C&E people out there.

quasar: Thanks for the "conducive" note.

I would rather miss the full house. I like really empty Masses. And I do count my blessings, not as often as I should.

prata said: I blieve in Darwin's view of the world, though I can't help but think God's hand was part of it.

~deb: I don't like crowded Masses. But you can't call bomb threats into the Church every year.

Video X said...

I don't ever feel all that weird count your blessings nonsense, but then I am terribly grumpy this year for Christmas. Sometimes, I am a C&E Catholic. But I don't go at those times as an attempt to just go because I'm supposed to or whatever. I go in hopes that perhaps I will want to go back to church regularly. To date, that has not occurred. Maybe next year because I don't even think I will go this year at all even for Christmas. I also go for family funerals and weddings of course. Sometimes I go with my mom on Christmas because I don't want her to have to go alone. I doubt she cares, but I doubt I'll take up any extra room this year!

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