Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The True Gifts of Christmas

We decided this year to wait.

Now that I read that thought put into writing, I am overwhelmed by what that has meant over the past twelve months.

We waited through the storm of grief which followed losing Gabriel--a baby we never saw, never held, never heard cry...though we wait still and know that we will see our child in Heaven.

We waited during Holy Week and the three days of the Triduum for the joy of the Risen Christ--and that Easter Week found us discovering the knowledge of the miracle of another baby.

We waited and watched the addition take more definitive shape, with windows, roof, insulation, lights, and now plumbing--and we still wait for the day we will expand ourselves into the new part of our home.

We waited the nine long months, through discomforts and inconveniences until the joyous event of the birth of the Little Snuggle Bug.

We began the waiting for healing for such dear friends after the loss of their infant son...and we will continue to wait and pray with them for God's gift of peace and healing in their hearts.

And today we have come to the end of the waiting of Advent.

Up to now, these things were all circumstances beyond our control, timed by God.

Here we are now, and today has also marked the end of the waiting which we were able to choose ourselves--the waiting for our Christmas Tree. It sits before me with blinking lights (although...they're not supposed to be blinking.....hmmm...), and My Darling has gone on a reconnaissance mission to the basement to retrieve the box of ornaments. Our family tradition is to acquire a new ornament each year for each member of the family (with a few others added in here and there). The intention is that when each child moves away from home as an adult, he or she will have a collection of beloved ornaments with which to adorn their very own Christmas tree.

Wait! Life just happened! Through the magic of cyberspace, we have just traveled nine hours in the span of three lines! Ah well; this happens when your author is the Mama of five children.

In the meantime, we completed decorating the tree.


My Darling was even clever enough to find alternative strands of lights which are in fact not blinking (and that's just dandy!). My job for the past three years has been to open the boxes containing the ornaments, to unwrap each ornament, and to give it to the owner thereof. My Darling hangs those designated as Mom and Daddy's, and the kids each hang their own, with the Frog, the Pickle and the Chicken helping the Monkey to find suitably strong branches when necessary. As you can imagine, this can result in that well-known phenomenon commonly referred to as "Ornament Clusters". In some families, these may be frosted and eaten. Around here, they are looked upon with much love and appreciation.

"Ornament Cluster"

Underneath the tree, we place the most beautiful ornament, the most treasured gift...

The Most Treasured Gift

We shared a sumptuous meal--a most delicious rib roast (sometimes called prime rib--spotted by My Darling at the local grocery store...they panicked and cut the price in half this afternoon!) with baked potatoes and au jous.

And now the house rests quietly, waiting for Mama to wake them to prepare for Midnight Mass. Around here, it's rare to find a church which still offers the Christmas Eve Mass actually at midnight. We are blessed to be members of one of the only parishes in the area which continues this sacred tradition.

It strikes me at this very moment that the thoughts which sent me to my keyboard earlier in the day have vanished completely from my mind, like so much steam wafting over a cup of hot coffee. The day was productive and full, and I am so thankful. What a cherished blessing it is to have our family all together tonight. Everyone is healthy, fed, warmly clothed, and comfortably ensconced in our modest home.

And now we wait again.

Mantle...waiting for Christ

Merry, Blessed, Joyous Christmas to you and your family from me and mine.

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