The winter holiday season is important to so many of us for its wealth of traditions and meanings, and for its warm memories. When I was little, Christmas day was wondrous. There were lots of wrapped presents deposited under our tree before Christmas, but of course Santa didn’t deliver his gifts until sometime after we fell asleep on Christmas Eve.
Then, very early on Christmas morning, my brothers and I would creep out of bed and sneak a peek into the living room. The rule was that we were to wake our parents before looking, but we generally ignored that. The Santa gifts bore tags but were never wrapped, so that first glance into the room was magical. His gifts (we each got only one) were always big and exciting, strategically arranged around the room for maximum visual effect.
Later we would head to Christmas Mass, where the church was full of poinsettias, the music was glorious, and everyone sang out with full-throated abandon. Baby Jesus was finally in the manger, and I couldn’t wait to run up to the creche and see Him. After Mass, we spent the day hamming it up for home movies, eating lots of good food, entertaining guests and playing with our new stuff.
As I think back to the wonder and joy I felt at Christmas when I was young, I pray that we will all be blessed with a similar sense of wonder and joy as we each celebrate our respective faith traditions in this season of hope and light.
Happy holidays to all, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!