Remembering Christmas, by Jeanne Asdourian

When I was a child, how much I loved Christmas! The anticipation made the whole season last so long. I twitched with joy at helping my mother place ornaments on the tree. I trembled with cold and excitement while my mom, my brother and I stood outside on our lawn watching my father gingerly line the roof of our home with brightly colored lights. My brother and I were wide-eyed with expectancy of Christmas being so near as the Christ Child entered the Nativity scene.

As an adult, these signs of Christmas lost much of their excitement for me except when I occasionally caught a glimpse of the excitement in my children’s eyes. I was a working mom trying hard to make their Christmases as special as mine were when I was a child. If only I didn’t have to juggle bills, work schedules, school drop-offs, cooking, shopping, laundry, along with the decorating, Christmas cards, and buying gifts “from Santa.” I now trembled with dread at how quickly the days were flying. My few moments of joy were now confined to Christmas Mass while my family, all five of us, crushed into the crowded pew and I couldn’t rush off to finish one more errand. Time was up. Here was the arrival (again) of Christ in all His glory, in all His simplicity, in all His humanity. And we celebrated.

All my children are grown now. My husband and I are now “empty-nesters” and I have not really adjusted. I miss them terribly. The noise, laughter, and constant rush is gone. Now my home is (too) quiet and (too) peaceful.

On December 1, we purchased our tree, and suddenly I was twitching. I pulled out the boxes of ornaments and went straight for the “1 st Christmas” ornaments and joyfully placed them high on the tree. I was not too tired after work to help put up our outside lights. Our Nativity scene is up with the empty manger. Joseph and the expectant Mary approach as they do every year. And, this year, I feel expectancy, as she did then.

It is with great joy and childlike excitement that my husband and I anticipate Christmas this year as we wait for all our children to be home. We know that it won’t always be this way. Some day, they will marry and have their own families, and in-laws, with whom they will celebrate, but right now, this year, they are still mine (as much as they can be) and we will enjoy every moment of this blessed time where time plods while we anticipate their return. Isn’t it funny how anticipating a child (a birth, a homecoming, or the Nativity of the Child) brings us great joy and excitement? And, when they are all home we will celebrate !

May you, too, experience great joy and childlike excitement this Christmas, and good health in the New Year.

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