Saturday, January 10, 2009
A Merry Little Complication
Years ago we started a wonderful little family tradition.
As our kids got older, got married, and started having families of their own - complete with inlaws - we said, hey, you know what? We want you to start your own Christmas Day traditions. Be with your own families. Celebrate the day with your inlaws, if that will keep peace in the family.
You are most welcome to come here on Christmas day, but here's the deal: Our family gathers on Little Christmas (the Sunday on or before or after The Feast of the Epiphany), and celebrates with a Big Meal and an exchange of gifts.
It has worked very, very well. No strain, lower tension, AND, we get to take advantage of all the after Christmas sales. Such a deal, right!
Our family was to start gathering tonight in anticipation of Little Christmas tomorrow. Except . . . .
There's a Very Big Snowstorm predicted to begin at noon. The National Weather Service is calling for 7-10 inches for our area, and then head up to New England, where our son and his wife and their three kids live.
Ms. Conroy was glued to The Weather Channel, and we were text messaging furiously to each other last night. The final word was: Let's wait and see what happens on Saturday afternoon. The New England contingent was even willing to get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning and make their way here.
So, we wait and prepare and try not to let our anxiety intrude on or invade our excitement.
The presents? Well, they can be given at any time. Mostly, we just want to be with each other, is all. To catch up and laugh and retell stories we've already shared by email but this time, we'll do it in person, and that will make all the difference.
See, in the end, it's really all about the Incarnation. It's not so much about 'the presents' as it is about 'being present' to each other and with each other.
We'll all be very sad if the snow keeps us from our Little Christmas celebration, but should that happen, we'll all be deeply committed to finding another way - to get to celebrate the gift of our family 'by another route' and at another time.
So, Mother Nature is going to do whatever She will. We'll not be wasting God's time with prayers about changing the weather. S/he's got people starving in India and a war in The Gaza Strip and Iran and Afghanistan to worry about.
Meanwhile, I'm going to start baking and cooking.
Haven't you heard?
It's almost Little Christmas!