Christmas

Luke 2:9-11

An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified,

but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’.

This is what I’ve been looking forward to throughout this Christmas season. I’ve endured the greed of others on many levels, traffic that makes me crazy, the rushing around, the insanity at work, the non stop go go go, knowing that I would attend Christmas Eve Mass with my family. To listen to the Priest read these words from the Scripture, use them in his beautiful homily, and to sing, rejoice and imagine the birth of Jesus Christ.  This is my gift to myself and my true meaning of Christmas.

It is now Christmas morning. We’ve opened presents and enjoyed one of our favorite Christmas breakfasts. At this moment I feel discouraged. I am trying to get past the silence and disappointment that one of my children is displaying. Each kid got things they asked for plus things they didn’t. I spent equal amounts of money on them but did not indulge them. No Red Ryder Bee Bee Gun type of gift this year. I made the mistake of telling this child I had one last thing for them in my car and gave it to them unwrapped. My husband made the mistake of wrapping the expensive item that the other child saved their money for and purchased themselves and saying it was from Santa when it really wasn’t. I think this disappointed child feels they haven’t gotten enough when in reality between my husband and I, our siblings and our parents, they have. My husband and I raised our children to be grateful for what they are given and to work for what they want so when they do get the Red Ryder Bee Bee Gun type gift, it is meaningful for them whether it was given to them or they purchased it themselves. We discourage greed. Yet sometimes this child never feels as if they never have enough and that makes me feel like I haven’t done enough as a parent to teach them.

So, I’ll carry on and relax for a few more hours before it’s time for me to shower and cook dinner. Hopefully this child will do a self check and change their attitude or it will be a long day.

I wish all of you peace, love and joy on this Christmas Day.

Holiday Series Part 2: The Gators bring it in

Despite the cold winds and low temperatures, the streets were lined with a large crowd. Families and friends bundled up in coats, hats, scarves, mittens and blankets. People standing, sitting in chairs or even sitting on the ground, holding coffee or cocoa to keep warm. People of our community watching each group march by. Finally, Santa’s sleigh arrives and the crowd began to cheer. I didn’t come to see Santa though. The highlight of the parade for me was the last group to march down the street.

I spotted her immediately. The Santa hat was secured to her head, allowing her hair to flow down. Her clear blue eyes were focused forward. She looks so sharp in that navy blue uniform. Her lips were pressed to the mouthpiece of her trumpet. The trumpet, decorated with red and white tinsel was aimed high, demonstrating discipline and confidence. Last year my daughter refused to even go to this parade. She said she needed a break before it was her turn. I think she just didn’t want to walk in my son’s shadow.

Walk in my son’s shadow in this marching band, she has not done. This was his marching band for four years. Yes’s she’s marched with some of his remaining friends but this is her marching band now. This year, this marching band marched in five field show competitions and scored higher than they ever have. As the underdogs, they competed against twelve other bands for the state championship and came in second place putting the band, the band parents, and the band directors on a huge emotional high. The following week they went to Mid Atlantic Regional Championship and became the first band in our county to qualify for the final round. I’d say my daughter has blazed her own trail in this marching band. My son, the awesome big brother that he is, simply showed her the way to the field and stood on the sidelines to cheer her on and enjoy her triumph.

Each year, this parade is the final event of the marching band season. By this time, the band’s competition season has been finished for a few weeks. The kids enjoy decorating their instruments with cheer, playing holiday songs and letting their hair down for one final march of the year. This is the fifth consecutive year my husband and I have had a child march in this parade. For us, it hasn’t gotten old. Standing in a shopping center in the cold with my husband and our band parent friends waiting for our kids to round that corner to complete the parade after Santa passes by always makes me smile.