Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

As the season draws to a close...

I'm feeling introspective. I'm compelled by this little boy I've recently met to stop what I'm doing, sit down, and mull the world around me.
I think of Christmases past. There was the one in middle school somewhere when I knew everything I was getting. Boy, was that depressing. Taught me a lesson--surprises are good.
There was the one right after my semester in France. Back in 1992, the customs guy just waved us through. He didn't want to be in the airport on Christmas Eve any longer than we did. Lucky for one of the guys in our group; he had a couple bottles of wine in his backpack. He'd wrapped them in socks so they wouldn't clink together. My brother and I went to Midnight Mass together when I finally got home.
There was the year my mother-in-law got me the red plaid flannel pajamas, which were something I'd really wanted.

There has been only one Christmas where I missed Mass. It was 1996 and it was also my first Christmas away from my immediate family. Since Dale wasn't Catholic, we went to the Methodist service. I don't recall what time it began--it may have been midnight, but probably was earlier--and it was in a barn.
Yes, a barn. A dog was even present. I know it was to remind us of Jesus being born in a barn and all but that's not what I was thinking about. I'd already read the disclaimers telling how Jesus wasn't really born December 25, the shepherds wouldn't have been in the fields then even in the Holy Land, yadda yadda. Even now I'm not concerned about the specific True Date of Jesus' birth; I know it actually happened and the precise date is less important to me.

As the snow gently fell through the loft, my thoughts were on all those who had nowhere to go. Those in warming centers for the homeless, and those who didn't even have that. Those with only a soup kitchen the next day for a meal, and those without even that. The young and old, near and far, alone or forgotten. I went with my future husband back to his parents' house and beheld a mountain of gifts softly lit by the light of the tree. The size of the pile was more a testament to their generosity than modern materialism but I know without the abundance of our surroundings it would not have existed.
Every year since then, despite the candles, incense, carols, and lights, my mind has gone back to that frigid night in the barn. This year as I held our own newborn son, I blinked back the images of him not having the blankets and hats and safe arms that he does. And I felt grateful.



At 8:28 PM, Blogger HISchild said...



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