Sunday, January 09, 2011
The Reason for the Season
While our family gathered to celebrate Little Christmas, we were 'tuned into' each other and 'tuned out' the rest of the world.
We had made it through the snow and ice to be together - the longest trip was four hours and 20 minutes. One of our sons in law took his truck with a snowplow on the front and made sure the neighbors were plowed out.
He's such a good man.
The children were all pretty well behaved, owing, perhaps, to the fact that they had already had their "Big Christmas".
This was "Little Christmas" after all. All the joy and excitement but half the hysteria and chaos.
Well, Christmas brings out the "little kid" in all of us.
That seems especially true the bigger we get.
After the blur of torn wrapping paper and exclamations of excitement and joy, we sat down to eat a fabulous spread of food.
Then, we caught up with each other - small conversations in the kitchen or at the table or in the living room. Much better than Facebook. Much better, indeed!
Of course, some of us watched the NOLA Saints and the Seattle Seahawks play football. I was rooting for the Saints, of course, but was sorely outnumbered.
What's not to love about the Saints? (Can you hear me, Grandmere Mimi?)
Pity they lost.
Here, our youngest granddaughter practices the ancient technique of the 'chasmophile'. In biology, the word means 'thriving or dwelling in rock crevices, chinks, fissures, crannies, and chasms'.
Not too long ago, she got into the cage where her oldest sister's bunny lives. It took a few minutes and not a few hysterical tears to get her out, but apparently she hasn't lost her desire to curl up into small places that are actually designed and intended for other purposes.
I began to realize that there was a reason for all his work. He was forming a barricade against the door to insure that the dogs would, in fact, stay away from him and his other siblings and cousins.
After he had lined up the last toy truck, he stood up, pointed his finger at the dogs who stood soulfully looking through the glass and said, in a stern voice that belied his young years, "OUT!"
It's not that he was afraid of the dogs - although one of them has an especially long, enthusiastic and hard to control tail. He just wanted to make sure that they didn't intrude on our holiday fun.
It was his job which he defined and took on for himself. Such a brave little man.
My favorite moment came when I saw two girl cousins heading off to the play room, all hustle and bustle and focused energy. I called after them, "Look at these two beautiful girls!"
The younger one smiled at me and said, as if to explain it all, "We're related, you know."
Yes, yes, my darlings. I know. We're all related. In ways that you haven't yet begun to comprehend.
Sometimes, you know, there is such ugliness and evil in the world, it makes me cry out in anguish. And other times, there is such beauty as to stop my heart and cause me to gasp in utter and complete awe.
Both experiences can send me running directly into the arms of Jesus for comfort and solace as well as to share my unspeakable joy and gratitude.
Meanwhile, we live out our lives of faith, balancing ourselves - our minds and bodies, our hearts and souls - between these two realities.
And, in the middle of it all, providing both ballast and perspective, is the Incarnation.
We lose that center at our own peril.