Tender, loving, "universal" humor on love and let-downs, chocolate and grief, Divine Providence and potty-training
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Surrendering to Joy
one is sick, the following pattern is typically pursued in some order: bed,
bathroom, bed, TV, tea, toast, bathroom, bed.
one is a sick mom, this pattern becomes something like the following:
Bed. Bag of shredded cheese shaken over your
head by child.
“Mom, I want this!!”
Arise in full knowledge that the bag will be opened by child should you insist
on bed. Fumble into kitchen, then turn
and bolt for bathroom, three year-old with cheese in hot pursuit.
“But Mommy, I want my bowl! I need a snack!
That’s not the way! Aww…”
Stumble back to bed, while baby toddles in,
hands raised. You weakly drag her into
your bed, where she plops down on your roiling stomach and starts pointing
pointedly at your shirt.
“No baby, not
right now, Momma’s sick…”
crescendo of your baby’s wail, you hear loud giggles, and struggle upright to
see preschooler dancing in glee over a carpet of cheese on the floor. And that’s just the first twenty minutes of
your sick day.
what I’ve been doing here while I haven’t been writing. Still haven’t recovered from whatever auto
immune flare-up my Thanksgiving vacation set in motion. Prayers are appreciated; I’m hanging in
least well enough—by nightfall--to help with the homework of a 5th
grader. My daughter was deep into the
most serious of classroom political campaigning last night: poster making. I was trying to coax a dried super glue into
affixing a little mirror under “LOOK” followed by “who’s voting for Annemarie
realized she had the misfortune of misspelling “responsible” on her poster. In permanent marker. A hunt for wite-out followed. A hunt for viable wite-out followed
that. When that failed, my husband took
on the task of bringing the wite-out back to life with hot water, then
alcohol. After five applications of the
regenerated substance, it almost worked.
the while, I was blasting Christmas music.
Yes, Christmas music. No, not Advent music. No, I am not a pagan. Yes, I spent years resisting the overly early
emergence of Christmas. But this year, I am surrendering to
joy. Well, at least when they aren’t
playing “Santa Baby” on the radio; that’s just painful. Besides, I can sing it better. :)
I’m like you, really: I resent the rushing of the holidays. How the culture hurries us along like
children: yes, yes, you are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner but look over
there! Sales! Shopping! Wrap! Decorate!
Send out the cards!
then on December 26th, just when we’ve actually started to
celebrate, it’s over. Trees on the curb.
Music off the radio. I mean,
some hang on to the New Year and give the whole holiday a good week, but mostly
I feel society looks up dully on the 26th and says, “What? Christmas?
Oh we were over that at 10 AM yesterday. So glad to get that tree out of my house.”
sad!! I mean really!! Very sad.
Rushing towards a goal only to be bored when we reach it. That’s one of the many reasons I’m a big fan
of Advent. I deeply appreciate the
weeks of preparation, spiritually and externally, to celebrate the birth of
Christ, God becoming man, the wonder of the Incarnation. That's also why I really tried to put the brakes on Christmas until _Christmas_. I cringed at the holly jollyness of the
world around me. And I insisted my
family at least try to be liturgically appropriate. Last year at this time, like the previous years, I was singing
only Advent songs with the kids. Mostly
the twenty-two verses of “O Come Emmanuel.”
We did the Jesse tree. We had
Advent links with a little sacrifice /
act of kindness every day to be done.
We had purple decorations. Didn’t get a tree till that pink candle week
of Gaudete Sunday. And yes, I'll continue most of these.
last year, I realized in the midst of my resisting the climate of frenzied
celebration, that I was missing out.
No, not on just the commercialism that all spiritually minded folk try
to do without during this holy season.
But on some perfectly acceptable joy.
been blessed back in the stone age of my single life to spend parts of this
season in convents. And I wanted that quiet
reflection, that interior preparation for my family. Finally realized this year that that—really--isn’t going to
happen that way. I can’t recreate that
blissful bubble of cloister for an active family immersed in today’s
society. My kids have been steeped in
pine and cinnamon scents since October, their peers are talking nonstop about
the holy day (I mean holiday, which means holyday… jokes on you, PC society J)…
Unless you go underground, red and green and Santa are inescapable here.
we won’t go from barren purple décor to sumptuous Christmas regalia overnight
on the eve of the 24th, much as I wish that was the case in my
desire for symbolism and living the liturgical life. But, in the midst of doing acts of charity to prepare for baby
Jesus, I’m coming to the realization that my kids and I can also be singing the songs of
Christmas. Okay maybe I’m a little
slow, but this was a big realization for me.
Even though the world around us may not fully “get” it, with the huge
inflatable snowmen and light up candy canes--they do know there is something to
celebrate here. Something way beyond
ordinary, though the ordinary birth of an ordinary baby is wondrous
enough. But now there are whispers of
the miraculous birth of a Savior, slipping into a stable, a quiet, steady Light
in a dark world. And while society may
try to cover it with décor, and wrap it in Santa movies, and insist on calling
it a holiday with holiday trees (again, lol), they are—however blindly and unconsciously—reaching
out for the Divine. Our Lord is there
in the center of it all. So we'll join in the celebration that surrounds us, because God is at its center, however swaddled the culture
tries to have Him be.
This year, I am surrendering to the joy that surrounds
us.Yes I will pray and reflect, but without insisting on perfection.Christmas music is on my radio, and when it happens to actually be
Christocentric, I blast the stuff.We
have the Advent wreath, and light a candle every week.But we’ll get the tree a little earlier... like as soon as possible.I want my
babies to see the lights, and will talk to them of the Light.And I’m hoping to continue a family
tradition of mine this year: celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas.Shoes out, fire in the hearth, cocoa and
singing all the Christmas carols we know.Okay, shoot that would be… tonight, so I’d better try to get ready. I'm currently thinking dollar bills might be unimaginative, but for a distracted and forgetful mom, that's good in a pinch. Happy Feast of St. Nick, the “real Santa,”
to you all! - TLC
"And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:5