Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We woke up late, had a big breakfast, made ornaments and played for a while. Singing included O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Joy to the World, Away in a Manger, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Butterfly Driving a Truck. Yes, I lost on the last two but if they're singing, they're not fighting so I'll take it for the moment.

This year I feel like I've been doing even more thinking than usual. This is probably because I have actually been blessed with some time to myself, wrapping gifts on the third floor. A few thoughts...

1. No matter how much I try to cut down on the number of gifts, there always seem to be too many. I fight with myself about this and try not to discuss it with my spouse who, himself, is a big believer in "the less the better". As much as my children drive me nuts sometimes, they are good kids for the most part. They don't get a lot lavished on them during the year so I think a few extra things is probably alright. I am happy that a good number of them came from Craig's List. What a wonderful invention that is!

2. I am so happy to have grown up in the family I did, along with all the odd Slovak traditions for Christmas Eve. When I got up and turned on the lights this morning, part of me was a little sad. It was always a great game. Still, I know the kids wouldn't "get it" right now so I think it would be a losing battle. We will eat our pierogi and mushroom soup tonight with money in our pockets. We won't spend money today (I like that one - who wants to shop on Christmas Eve). Mostly, I'll keep my dad in my heart and thoughts. He always seemed happier on Christmas Eve. I hope he's had the last few in Heaven. Can you imagine what a gift that will be?

3. It always strikes me at this time of year, how very "big" Christmas is within the Catholic (and Christian) church. Without the birth of Jesus, the Resurrection cannot occur. I guess He could have just appeared on the earth one day but, really, would that have had the same effect? Would we be able to identify with His humanness in the same way? This is why I'm perplexed that 1. so many people fail to realize the amazing gift of Mary's "yes" and 2. so many people are still caught up in all the crazy shopping/rushing/overconsumption (see #1). I hope, in the midst of all the hubub of tomorrow, everyone will take a moment to reflect on the way and place Jesus came among us. The peace and simplicity of the stable are so enticing to me. The gifts hadn't even arrived yet!

4. Christmas Day at our house will consist of Mass at 7 AM, a nice breakfast, opening gifts and playing. I have no idea what we'll have for dinner. After hosting last weekend's festivities and Christmas Eve, that's just fine with me. Maybe I'll have the boys make some gnocchi with me. Oh, and homemade bread. Perhaps I am a little Italian after all. I could really go for some lasagna right now. Whatever we eat, as long as we're together, I can't think of a better gift.

May the Light of Jesus's birth warm you today and throughout the year. God's blessings for a safe and happy 2012!

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