LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
For me…the Christmas Season has official arrived: We have celebrated the Second Sunday of Advent; we have lit Advent candles; I opened a window on someone’s Advent calendar; and I bought my first Christmas gift for a dear friend, the same dear friend who suggested we watch an old holiday favorite, Frosty The Snowman, and build a snowman afterwards. We dressed our snow fellow in baseball attire, then named him "Derek".
On my way to morning Mass today (I find myself going to Mass more frequently now ), I had an epiphany: I really get the meaning of the season. I am finally able to understand the fun in watching a children’s story. For once, I was able to lose myself in the glee of being a sculptor of snow. I feel so “child-like”, so empowered, so not self- conscious, that I even held my own in a snowball fight instead of giving up, giving in and walking away as my opponent covered me in cold, wet, white.
What has happened to change my point of view?
I realized this morning that I am truly able to feel the joy of the season. Joy? I hadn’t known the meaning of that word for all of my life. (Even as child, joy alluded me.) I know it now. Light heartedness? I had never carried a light heart in my chest. Most Children of Alcoholics don’t know what a light heart feels like. Statistically, we know many children of alcoholics come to experience a light heart, by draining the heart’s despair and hopelessness through the use of a siphon: drugs or alcohol...or both.
What has made me different?
The other day I was stopped in front of neighbor’s home and noticed the white twinkle of lights in his farmhouse windows. Kissing balls hung from the porch eaves like emeralds and red ribbons flagged in the cold wind. “Ah…” I thought, “how lucky they are to still have a small child in the house to motivate them to celebrate Christmas”. Then, I felt sad for a few moments because I don’t have that family life. My daughter Julia and I tried to know the joy Christmas, but honestly, I could never really bring her there. I felt bereft because, I thought: I can’t ever recall enjoying Christmas, for one reason or the other.
But then… before I spent too much time wallowing, Our Lord reminded me that what I was feeling simply wasn’t true any longer. He said: “You now belong to a healthy family. You’ve known joy, on and off, for nearly three years. You are a member of the Catholic Church, a member of a big, appreciative family whose main purpose is to show you how you are loved. You belong to a family whose responsibility to you is to remain “healthy” through prayer and practice, so that it can teach you how to become the best-version-of—yourself.
I heard Him clearly, then, suddenly, I felt the way the infamous figure, the Grinch, must have felt when Cindy Loo Hoo let him know that, despite himself, he was loved. "And what happened then? Well, in Stamford, they say that my heart grew THREE sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and I found the strength of ten Grinches plus two."
Keep Christ in CHRISTmas!