What a great two days. On Christmas Eve, my family gathered at my brother’s house in Canton. All kinds of tantalizing treats were laid out before us, the kids fairly vibrated with anticipation, and the adults all shared fun and laughter. My nephew Joseph, 8, told us that what he thinks of when he thinks of his extended family is the laughter we all share when we’re together.
One of the best parts was, before the kids opened their presents from the family, we all prayed a decade of the Rosary together. It’s a nice reminder of what we’re together for.
Christmas Eve must be the one night of the year when it’s easiest to put children to bed. One word of caution about Santa’s arrival and they speed up the stairs without a protest.
If you want to recapture a bit of what Christmas was like when you were a child, be around kids on Christmas morning. First we said a prayer and the kids processed in with the baby Jesus for the manger. And then they each got to open on present before Mass. Off they went (I had gone to Mass the night before) and I stayed behind to set up Peter’s new Playstation for him. It was purely a selfless act; I also had to make sure his new car racing game worked. Of course.
Later we went to dinner at my brother Bernie’s home. His wife Carol made a massive Italian feast, of which I ate too much and longed for later when I was hungry again. (Much later.) All the time, I kept looking out the window for the promised Christmas snow. Snowfall on Christmas is a rare event around here and it seemed to me that it was going to be rarer still, what with all the rain. But eventually snow began to fall around twilight. This morning we had 4 or 5 wet inches. All night the wind blew strong, blowing the wet slush off the tree branches, against the side of the house, making it sound like a tornado coming through.
We watched “The Patriot” on DVD last night, an excellent movie with themes of patriotism, family values, and faith. After, John and I stayed up late racing against each other using my nephew’s game console. After all these years we’re still competing.
It wasn’t a particularly spectacular Christmas, but it was all the Christmas it needed to be. It was a satisfying joy-filled time to be with family. Whatever else happens in the world, it’s still one day a year that peace seems to reign, that worries seem to lift, that joy fills the hearts of most. How appropriate that on the day we celebrate Christ’s birth it is the world that receives the Gift.