In some strange way, I always have enjoyed the hustle-bustle of Christmas anticipation. Not the desperate “must find something!” gift search, but our last-minute preparations:
- Wrapping the last gifts
- Cleaning the house and putting up the final Christmas decorations
- Queueing up our favorite Christmas music
- Planning the holiday meals and purchasing the food and the wine
I find comfort in these rituals. This is what I do. This is how I prepare. I anticipate Christmas by getting things done. I am proactive.
But sometimes I’m afraid that I miss out on some golden moments by working too hard; planning too much; preparing for something that won’t meet my expectations. When our children were young they would ask me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer was always the same, “A clean house and good kids.” This was most often greeted with rolled eyes and a groan. Of course I was mostly joking but still there was some truth in my wish.
And yet when I look back on my fondest Christmas memories it has nothing to do with a perfect house or well-behaved children. It has always been those things that I didn’t anticipate that brought me the greatest joy. And this year is no exception:
- Receiving a kiss on my cheek from my sweet Noah Boy while attending the ‘Novena’ at our local convent this week without prompting.
- Our grown son Blake unexpectedly being able to secure time off from work and be with us with for Christmas.
- An impromptu evening with my brother and sister-in-law; sharing laughs and good memories.
Of course there are other unexpected things this year:
- My friend and spiritual director who is dealing with horrific pain while awaiting back surgery; which will hopefully “fix her” again.
- A beloved cousin battling cancer and kidney failure.
- Our dear friends’ Dad who will be receiving hospice care beginning tomorrow.
I cannot think of three people more deserving of a peaceful and pain-free Christmas. It is heart-breaking to think that these three should suffer when we are preparing for the ultimate joy in the birth of Our Savior.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14
And yet I find comfort in these unexpected ‘gifts’ this year; good and bad. I know that it is our faith in God in which we find our peace; our joy.
Today as we light the fourth candle on our Advent wreath my prayer will simply be, “Come Lord Jesus!”