This Christmas was full of unexpected circumstances, laughter, tons of food, and ultimately joy. My sister and brother in law have had a lot going on during the past few months. He had a cancer surgery and just last week had surgery on his back. In the midst of it all, they sold their big farm and moved into a small apartment. I wasn’t sure if we would see them in person, but they came Christmas Eve and spent the night. My brother in law was not yet recovered, but functioning better than he has for a long time. It was great to spend time with them after not doing so for months. My other sister came too and my younger son and his dog. Unfortunately, my older son got sick on Christmas Eve and opted for the family to stay home so as not to spread the illness. That was appreciated but still a little sad. I packed up dinner and gifts and went to their house to swap with them. While I was there, I opened their gifts to me. My son and wife got me a beautiful Mary statue music box. My oldest grandson was part of the family secret Santa gift exchange for the first time and drew my name. He got exactly what I asked for and was pretty proud of himself. After our dinner, a friend stopped over who I hadn’t seen in months. She gave me a beautiful rosary – more on that another time. It was wonderful to visit with her. Soon it was time for Mass. But when we looked outside, it was snowing and almost white out conditions. Needless to say, we thought it best not to bring my mom out in that weather. That was disappointing. But a little while later, we got on Zoom with everyone and opened family presents. Gratefully, the fact that we weren’t all together in person didn’t seem to dampen any spirits. After making sure mom had what she needed for bedtime, I decided to go to late Mass with my youngest son. It was beautiful in so many ways. The car did slip a couple times, so I was glad we didn’t venture out earlier with my mom. On Christmas day, my mom, me, my younger son and his dog, both sisters and my brother in law went up to my dad’s. When we arrived we were told he didn’t sleep well the night before. We could tell as he was pretty sleepy and more confused. We got comfortable in his apartment and gave him some Christmas cookies that my sister made which he said, “tasted familiar”. We could see he was trying hard to rouse himself. We called up the rest of the family on Zoom and each opened a gift from my parents. Several weeks ago on a particularly lucid day, my dad and I looked through a catalog I brought of funny t-shirts. As we perused and laughed, my dad made comments that a certain saying fit a certain person. I asked if we should get one for everyone and he liked the idea. My mom and I looked through the catalog as well and ordered them. As each person opened their gift, they held it up and we all laughed. We were surprised that my dad was able to participate, given how tired he was. Not only that, he ate a full lunch afterwards. Then he laid down for his nap. Everyone headed home and we napped as well. After our own dinner, my mom, sister, and I drove to look at our favorite Christmas lights. Then we watched Christmas Mass with our favorite priest in NH. It was a busy couple of days as it was for most. However, I did try to keep it as low key and stress-less as possible, especially leading up to the holiday. Our Christmas decorating, gift purchasing and pre-cooking was minimal. I didn’t send any cards. And during the 2 days, I took no pictures. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but I was definitely present in the moment for what it was. I prayed Thanksgiving that family was all together even if online, and for the joy of the celebrations.
I Found God today celebrating Christmas.