Ah. That's my sigh of relief from yesterday afternoon after turning in my last paper of the semester. Not that I'm entirely happy with what I turned in but, either way, it's over and I don't have class until the second half of January.
There were a couple of times this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday where I thought: "Why, O why didn't I stay in Ambridge longer?" I certainly could have used the extra time for reading and writing, and I definitely could have used the library's resources when it came to doing the word studies for my exegesis paper. On the other hand, going to the InterVarsity worship reunion on Friday night blessed me. I got to see several people who I love and haven't seen much of (or at all) since I moved to Pennsylvania, and starting your winter break with worship and prayer is always good.
My dad and I saw Avatar on Sunday night. Wow. I haven't seen that many 3D movies in my life, but this film's use of it really drew you into a fantastic world in an immersive way. Part of it had to do with the CGI, which was just enough on the far side of the uncanny valley to suspend your disbelief. The other factor was James Cameron's combined sense of scale and gravity--he shows us BIG, fantastic things that behave much like you would expect them to if they did exist. In short, watching Avatar was akin to seeing Jurassic Park or The Matrix for the first time--experiencing screen & sound in a way no other movie has quite accomplished.
I don't have an extensive year-end list for movies, but here are my favorites in A-Z order: Avatar, District 9, The Hangover,* Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up. Short list, huh? I saw virtually no independent films this year (except the derivative sci-fi flick Moon) and the promising-looking kid's movies I either didn't see (Coraline) or was underwhelmed by (Where the Wild Things Are, The Fantastic Mr. Fox; the latter I am open to watching again with someone indie-esque like Ben DeHart or Brendan Trinkle, although I was listening to that Karen O song from the Wild Things trailer earlier today and wanting to rumpus). I yet want to see, especially, The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man.
After my first semester of seminary, I can say a few things with confidence: 1) I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and that's a good feeling; 2) I am not called to be an exegetical scholar; 3) I love the Book of Common Prayer and am immensely grateful for our regular chapel services; 4) I am an emotional powder keg; 5) Prayer really makes a difference; 6) God has blessed me with many new friends; 6) 52 degrees and sunny can qualify as a warm day; 7) I will probably wear a collar one day (I'm probably confident about that one, I guess); 8) I am charismatic to the core and that will never change.
I have made peace with my total lack of interest in Christmas trees, elves, Bing Crosby, alternating greens & reds and opening presents. I was really made to be a liturgical Christian, I think. Embracing Advent as the season of anticipation and Daily Office readings from third Isaiah fits so much better with the gospel and eschews all the cognitive dissonance that warrants inversions of Xmas materiality like The Advent Conspiracy.** I want incense and candles and chanting and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and, in general, a deep sense of connection to millenia of longing for Jesus's return. 9) I am fundamentally eschatological and that will never change.
Here are two bits from my BCP-structured quiet time earlier:
"Thine is the day, O God, thine also the night; thou hast established the moon and the sun. Thou hast fixed all the boundaries of the earth; thou hast made the summer and the winter." ~ Psalm 74:16
"We beseech thee, Almighty God, to purify our consciences by thy daily visitation, that when thy Son our Lord cometh he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."
~ Tradtional Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, BCP '79 p.160
*I will qualify that this is the most riotously funny movie I have ever seen in the theater but not one I would watch in mixed company.
**Not hating on it, I just think the embracing the liturgical calendar precedes it.