… We can dream, and in our dreams, we’re Christmasing with you
It’s December 23rd. Our house is all of a-flutter with activity. The living room is being sorted and packed away to our storage facility to make room for our Christmas tree. Once it is chosen and brought home, it will be duly named, as has been our tradition for many, many years. Corn will be popped for strings, paper cut for chains. Tomorrow the tree will be strung with lights and garlands, and hung with handmade ornaments. Around the base, we will place the beautiful hand-quilted skirt made lovingly by Brian’s mom.
Today, each of us is busy putting last minute touches to handmade gifts and planning our cooking schedule for tomorrow. It will be – as always – a very busy day. We’ll be making recipes ahead, baking cherry crisp and egg nog cake (invented by my dear sweet friend, Jennifer). I’ll go and collect Catherine from her job in the afternoon and we’ll make our annual trip to the local NICU to drop off hand-made (and blessed by our priest) hats and blankets for the babies there. We’ll stop for our traditional supper at Burger King (I know, I know but it’s only once a year).
After more decorating and naps all around, we’ll bathe small children and clothe their sweet little selves in their Christmas finery. At the hour they would normally be toddling off to bed, we’ll pile into the van and drive the 10 minutes to church. What a treat it is for the children to be up so late! We are all anticipating the magic of the sanctuary filled with beautiful light, the creche awaiting the Christ child, the choral prelude to Mass, and the sweet Holy Family Tableau. But more than that, we will look forward to singing Happy Birthday to Our Lord and visiting friends after Mass in what is truly our family’s home.
We will miss the physical presence of friends who have gone home to Heaven. We know that they will be celebrating with us at that Great Moment in the Mass when the veil between Heaven and earth is drawn back and we are all together, giving thanks and praise. We will also be missing those of our friends who are not well enough to be in attendance. One of the special charms of visiting after the Mass is seeing the delight on the face of our senior priest as he greets his spiritual children, young and old. Despite the late hour, and perhaps also his own fatigue, he is ever the cheerful and enthusiastic patriarch, shaking hands, receiving hugs, and commenting with loving care on how lovely the children all look. His recovery from a recently broken hip is not likely to sink his spirits, but may prevent him from presiding over his family after the Mass this year.
Especially in our hearts are those who are ill, unemployed, underemployed, and the families of troops deployed overseas.
So while we’re bustling away, know, dear readers, that our family will be whispering a prayer that your family is abundantly blessed with peace, joy, and love in the coming year.