*Christmas is over? Says who! Welcome to the holiday blog tour. You can enjoy my post on the tour below, then catch the previous stop here: https://wanderinginkwells.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/holiday-blog-tour-top-ten-family-favorite-holiday-movies/!*
If you had asked me only about two years ago which Christmas song I hated the most, I would have said Feliz Navidad.
Many factors contributed to this tragedy.
Factor Number One—my siblings and I had an ill-fated recording of Larry the Cucumber singing Feliz Navidad. Complete with a tuba section and the chicken dance. (If you grew up on VeggieTales, you probably know what I’m talking about. :)) As if that was not traumatizing enough, one year, one of my siblings developed an unhealthy obsession with it and would listen to Larry singing Feliz Navidad on repeat for hours. Which meant all of my family listened to it on repeat.
Opening my inner wounds here, guys.
Factor Number Two—not too many years later, Feliz Navidad became that Christmas song that followed me around for the season. You know, that song that somehow is playing in every store and on every station whenever you turn on the radio?
Therefore, my Grinch-like hatred of Feliz Navidad.
I had a case. I mean, I don’t even speak Spanish, so I don’t know what they’re saying. In my experience, if you don’t know what the lyrics mean, you don’t sing them. Most people who record it don’t even know the words—they just kind of mumble their way through the line until they get to “I WANNA WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS.”
This year, however, I heard Feliz Navidad many times.
But I never felt annoyed.
I started working at an elementary school with many Spanish-speaking students.
Some of these students come into our school having never spoken English before.
I think of one boy who came into our school in the middle of first grade and didn’t even know his alphabet. This year, he read a part in his grade’s reader’s theatre without any help.
I think of one girl who came into kindergarten and cried every day at lunch for the first two weeks. She only spoke to her teacher when asked a question or taking a test. This year, she finally spoke to me at recess.
I think of a new kindergartener this year. While she gives everyone the most beautiful smiles, she still hasn’t spoken even to her teacher.
It’s overwhelming. It’s tear-inducing. These kids work so hard to learn. They want it so badly.
I can’t imagine going to school every day and not understanding anything anyone is saying.
When all your teachers and friends speak another language . . . even the simplest phrases mean a lot.
I’ve seen these students’ faces light up when their EL teacher speaks to them in Spanish. Or when a teacher uses even the simplest Spanish phrase, whether or not they say it right. Or when a para tries to pronounce their name correctly (even if said para—ME—fails every time).
This year, our office staff decorated the right side doors with the words “Merry Christmas.” On the other side, they decorated it with the words “Feliz Navidad.”
Even though those Spanish words don’t mean much to me right now, they do to these kids.
Because Christmas is for everyone.
One thing that’s really struck me this Christmas is how Jesus came for everyone. All nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities. Every personality—the shy to the outgoing. The sweet and the annoying. He even came for the ones that He knew wouldn’t believe in Him.
He cares about each person individually, and He did when he came at Christmas. He speaks the simple phrases that mean the most to each of us.
He came for me. He came for you. He came for your classmates. For your family. For the ones who annoy you most.
For overwhelmed Spanish students at an elementary school.
Feliz Navidad means Christmas to students who might not hear it any other way. And Jesus means Christmas to all of us.
And who knows? Maybe by next year, I’ll have learned Spanish and will actually know what those lyrics mean. If I find out, I’ll tell you.
Catch the next holiday blog post here! https://annakatewrites.wordpress.com/2022/01/29/christmas-the-everlasting-joy/
Catch the previous one here (seriously, you should check it out): https://wanderinginkwells.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/holiday-blog-tour-top-ten-family-favorite-holiday-movies/
My all-time favorite Pixar movie is Up. (Fun fact. Save that for surprise trivia later.)
The whole movies centers on Carl Fredericksen, who just wants to be left alone to grieve his wife’s death. His house and everything are exactly the same as they were the minute she died. Except a bustling city has sprung up around said house. And the construction company in charge of that city would dearly love to have Carl’s little piece of land.
When push (a cement mixer that squashes the mailbox he and Ellie painted together) comes to shove (Carl whacks a construction worker over the head with his cane), Carl finds himself ordered out of his house by the judge.
So he does what any normal guy would do.
He ties a gazillion balloons to his house and flies his house to South America to fulfill his wife’s dream. After all, a promise is a promise, right? (He CROSSED HIS HEART.)
Just Carl and Ellie. Heading to Paradise Falls. Alone.
But there was this kid named Russell who was looking for a snipe under his porch. And there was this dog named Dug who’s convinced Carl is his master. And there was this bird named Kevin, who was, well, Kevin. (As if Kevin wasn’t enough, Kevin also happens to be an extremely rare creature being hunted by Carl’s childhood hero.)
Adulting. Need I Say More?
When I graduated from high school, I was extremely introverted and socially anxious. I hadn't had a lot of interaction with kids my age or people outside my family in general due to circumstances outside my control. Just the idea of having to make eye contact with the clerk at Walmart made my heart pick up the pace a little.
Ever since I was little, I craved routine. I wanted the same things to happen at the same time every day.
I hated the unknown. If I had no prior experience with something, fun or not, it was immediately subject to careful inspection.
Which didn’t cause too many problems as a homeschooled high-schooler. I could curl up in my Carl-like world, safe and mostly content.
But then I graduated. And I had to get a job. And a driver’s license. And make conversation with other people without my family around.
There was this job at an elementary school. And there was this young adult gathering at church. And there was . . . ADULTING.
It was awful. For a few days, anyway. I was overwhelmed and frustrated and anxious. I didn’t even talk about my coworkers for almost a year because I was still so nervous every time they tried to even say good morning. True story.
Then something strange happened.
So Many Doors I Never Knew Existed
I discovered I wasn’t as shy as I thought.
Once I had the chance to get out and experience life, I realized my coworkers were very different than I am, but pretty fun. I learned I liked meeting friends for chai or going over to their house to watch a movie (and actually picking out the movie on my own!).
There still were the matters of driving places I’d never gone before, going to appointments alone, and shopping on my own. But even they weren’t quite so bad as I had imagined. (Google Maps helped.)
I still love and need my quiet time at home. But so many doors I never knew existed stood wide open before me.
I smiled looking back at my goals for 2021. I had written that I wanted to become more confident. That’s exactly what happened. And it wouldn’t have happened unless I’d taken a few risks and a few chances.
I can’t imagine what life would be like now if I hadn’t taken any of those adventures, unexpected though they were.
Life doesn’t go the way we plan. Carl’s didn’t. Mine didn’t. 2021 didn’t. 2022 won’t.
And maybe that is a fantastic thing.
Whether or not these unexpected adventures feel wonderful at the time—some do, some don’t—they will lead us somewhere wonderful.
Know how I know? Because God’s steering the ship, and He told me so. “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So go tie balloons to your house. (Or don’t, on second thought, that could be a safety hazard. Some things in Pixar just don't work out real well in real life.) Don’t overthink it. Take the doors that God opens for you.
Who knows where you’ll go?
*What unexpected adventures did 2021 bring you? What are your hopes for 2022? Share your adventures in the comments below!*
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!