The kids had been waiting for days for Tree Cutting Day. Going out to get the tree on the farm is so rich with memories for all of us. This year, I couldn’t go, so our daughter Carrie took photographs for me to treasure.
I waited at home for them to come back. When I saw the sheep skitter across the knoll, I knew they were on the way. First, I saw Caroline come around the bend, pulling the sled with Georgie on it. Not far behind were the rest of the children, talking, laughing, skipping. Last, came an enormous tree with two pair of legs, boughs jauntily bouncing to the rhythm of their steps. I couldn’t believe what a gift I have been given in these people, in this place.
“I could leave the world with today in my eyes.” – Truman Capote (from A Christmas Memory)
We are anxiously awaiting the first day of Christmas, and thoroughly enjoying our Advent with all of its feasts that punctuate the quiet preparation. We are, once again, utterly failing at keeping up the Christmas Novena. But this year, I have it printed, framed and displayed on a side table in the dining room (where we spend most of our time). So if we walk past and say the prayer a few times a day, that is a vast improvement.
How are you preparing for the coming of the Christ Child?
Within our family branches
rests a little nest
a reminder of what’s important
for we are truly blessed.
Children grow and leave
relatives move away
but our home is a haven
where love will always stay.
– Sue Pitchfork
Two of our little birdies have flown the nest. Next year we will be blessed with a new birdy when our oldest daughter marries. Christmases are very different now, but I hope that Christmas here at home will always be full of happy memories. It is where love lives.
A couple of weeks ago, Brian had his monthly weekend off from serving Mass – and we didn’t have Religious Education classes, so we went home to church. This is more than the parish for the town we grew up in, it is also my spiritual home, and the place where my conversion happened at age 10.
It felt warm and welcoming, familiar, and comfortable. Everything was just as it was when we were last there except that the choir was in the transept rather than the loft. And this time around, my beautiful family filled a pew to brimming. It did my heart good. So, so much good.
The altar where Brian and I exchanged vows 25 years ago, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 133 years to the day after Ss. Louis and Zélie Martin.
The side altar dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. I was baptized at this font, and nearly a decade later, so was our oldest daughter.