Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas in Chicago

I was going to write about how I've interacted and worked with labor unions. Or how Paolo Freire's Pedogogy of the Oppressed is manifested in an OSHA training that I recently attended. Or how I cope with living half my life on the South Side and half my life on the North Side. Or how hilarious and guilt-inducing the concept of trampolining bears is.

However, I can't help but write about Christmas now. I admit--I watched the Christmas episode of Glee on Hulu, and now I find myself in an indelible funk of sentimental memories and "skin hunger". Such is Christmas in the 21st century American city. With this all in mind, I will make no philosophical claim or political defense in this post.

This is how I've seen Christmas in Chicago.

In illuminated residential houses throughout Bridgeport that somehow warm the heart while multi-directional winds numb my fingers.

In snow-covered industrial spaces, like railroads, coal piles, and vast parking lots, that exchanged their mechanized non-soul to the purity of nature born no doubt born very high in the gray sky that hides the top of the Sears Tower.

In carols and songs backed by a pipe organ, bells, and an excellent choir in the chapel of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

In slowly decorating the Christmas tree in the sanctuary of First Trinity Lutheran Church every Sunday after we celebrate communion.

In the view from the top of the el tracks over Roosevelt with winds whipping from the lake, past the Field Museum, over the river, and out to the western reaches of the city.

In the Holiday Train that moves from rail to rail of the CTA, which just happened to be on the Orange Line stopping at Roosevelt at about 6 pm this past Friday. It even smelled like a gingerbread house.

In decorating a scrounged Christmas tree in Trinity House with scrounged lights and candy canes that my grandmother from Iowa gave me when I left after Thanksgiving.

In the green garlands that coil around the street lights of Bryn Mawr Ave. and the wreaths above the turnstiles of the transfer at the subway.

In giving away live Christmas trees in the snow at Benton House, which involved manually sawing off the bottoms the trees so that they seep in water better and perhaps forever making my overcoat smell like the boreal forests of Manitoba.

In the many wonderful people that have helped make my transition to Chicago so fulfilling and joyful. I thank all of you and pray that you have a very hopeful, peaceful, loving, and Christ-filled Christmas.

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