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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

GiftsWhen I see this table, I see gifts, many gifts. The plates are from my husband’s beloved grandmother Pearl, a tiny jewel of a woman. The glassware, Waterford crystal, is a legacy from my Irish mother; she collected the glasses; I added to it when I got married. The silverware was assembled as wedding gifts. The center candle was a gift from my girls. The table itself belonged to my parents, one of the first things they purchased after they married.

The meal we ate at this table tonight included vegetables sautéed in the chili oil and beriberi spices my son got me for Christmas.

We had a feast of gifts today. It was delicious….

Both my parents died young of cancer. I was young when they died; for a long time, I measured my life in what I had lost. But now, decades later, I see the gifts in my life. And of course, the most important gifts are not yet at this table – my husband and my three children.

In life, it is sometimes appropriate to acknowledge all that we’ve lost on our journey. Tonight, however, I celebrate the many gifts – the people who’ve supported me in my lief, and the gifts they’ve shared with me.

I wish all a merry, merry Christmas and a year full of gifts and gratitude.

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18 years ago, I was nine months pregnant with my first child. This beloved and wanted baby was due in the early days of a new millennium – if you remember, the Y2K fear ran strong in 1999 – we were being told that all systems could collapse due to a programming bug that meant computer programs might not be able to recognize years beyond the 20th century.

Being nine months pregnant around Christmastime, I could not help but think of another mother, a young woman whose pregnancy preceded her marriage, who had not planned to become pregnant by someone not her husband. Mary was God’s choice of mother for his son. Joseph, her betrothed, was initially unhappy to marry a pregnant woman, but then an angel came to him in a dream. And so Joseph married Mary and stayed with her and raised God’s child as his own.

When I was nine months pregnant, I was uncomfortable and clumsy and I would think of Mary on that long donkey ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I thought about the discomfort and the dust and the effort it must have taken for that couple to make that journey just prior to the birth of their baby.

When I was nine months pregnant, I went to see a friend’s child in a Christmas pageant – we arrived late and there were no seats. I stood for the performance and again thought of Mary and I thought of arriving at the destination to find “no room at the inn.” I thought of what it must have been like to go into labor in the stables, with no crib, no bed. I thought about what it was like for this young woman to lay her newborn baby in a manger, a feeding trough.

When I went into labor, it lasted for 23 hours; it was long and painful and at times, frightening. I gave birth in the hospital and came home to see my baby welcomed by our family. Ithink of Mary, laboring in the stables, with no family but her husband nearby. I know that she received gifts from strangers but she was in a stable far from home when she delivered her first child. She, too, must have had moments of fear and doubt as she labored to bring the baby to this world.

My son’s birth ushered in my life as a mother; motherhood has made me more connected, more aware of the links that join us together. Once, a child was born who was to be God’s savior on earth. Always this time of year I remember when I was large with child and I think of Mary and her journey to become the mother of Jesus. Tomorrow is Christmas and soon after, my son will turn 18. Tis the season for celebrating life on this earth. And tis the season for sharing our love, our care and our support with others.

From Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

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Our icicles decorate the house, white lights that twinkle like tiny stars. We’re set to get the tree this weekend. Christmas is in less than one month.

And Dexter has returned, an event that has been highly celebrated by two young girls who’ve been waiting for this all year.

Dexter is our “elf on a shelf.” He arrived last year to remind us every day in December that Santa watches us to make sure we’re nice, not naughty. He left for the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve.

We’ve yearned for him ever since. And yesterday, he returned.

The night before his return, the last day of November, Lindsey and Nora could not sleep. They’d heard that Dexter would return that night and thus, sleep became impossible. Lindsey woke up several times in the night, anxious for morning.

And by the time morning came, I was exhausted.

But not so tired that I could not appreciate the joy Dexter brought with him. My girls shrieked with delight when they saw him. Then they started filling him in on the events of the year.

“Mommy is working.”

“Aidan will be 10.”

“WE’RE in kindergarten!”

The narratives they shared with our elf were adorable. Dexter listened patiently. And said not a word…

Aidan, the 4th grader, is a bit smug about the whole thing. Let’s just say he’s not a believer this year.

I reminded him that when he was in kindergarten, he saw Santa on Christmas Eve, and it made him one of the happiest children in the universe that night. I asked him to share the joy. To keep his doubts to himself.

“It was Santa’s shadow,” he said.

Never the less, I told him, it’s time to share that magic with your sisters. Not bust it up. Santa’s watching. That list you wrote out might get ignored…

Tonight as we went to bed, after watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on TV, the girls chimed a cheery good night to their good friend, Dexter.

Their brother said not a word.

The magic continues. At least for this year.

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I had a horrible dream the other night – not a nightmare exactly, but one that left me riddled with anxiety when I awoke.

It was about Easter. (more…)

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