Popular Posts

Saturday, December 4, 2010

on Christmas

We are getting the house ready for Christmas. This is always a time of reflection for me. I had a good childhood. Christmas was special. My mom didn't work when I was little. My dad was low seniority at FORD. We suffered our strikes and lay offs and had our fat periods when the overtime was plentiful. He usually didn't take a lot on in the way of overtime. He worked hard for his family, but he didn't want to make it all in vain by being one of those men that put in 60 hours a week and never saw his family. Christmas was about family and kids and God. We weren't spoiled, but they made sure they budgeted a nice showing under the tree. One year we all came down to brand new bicycles. Not, however, spoiled to the extent that I spoil my own. Sometimes I think I do that because of the moving and the separation from Grandparents and feeling some pathetic need to make up for it with lots of presents. Especially if daddy is deployed which has happened with three of our 10 Christmases together.

The last three Christmases have been rough. No daddy, daddy sitting in ICU with Grandma who stroked out in our living room on Dec.22, and no daddy again. This Christmas we will be together, crossing our fingers that our eldest boy makes it on that rotator. Did I overspend? Oh yes. Is that what it is all about? no. We teach our children about Christ's birth. We light the advent candles. We read to them and we have the nativity scene and the advent calendar. We take them to church, we pray with them. We do try to teach them the true meaning while also feeding into the commercial mayhem.Being in a Muslim country is just a reminder that we need to remember what it is all about.

A lot of people who are Christians can tell you the moment they "came to Christ". The stories can be moving and inspirational and sometimes peppered with tragedy. Honestly, I can't tell you the moment. I was brought to Christ from the cradle. I always believed. My parents have swayed back and forth with the church attendance like many of us do.They never swayed in their faith, at least not so that I noticed. We always knew, though, about God and his sacrifice. My parents were raised in West Virginia in those kind of churches you read about. Hopping up and down, can I get an AMEN,speaking in tongues? In adulthood my dad went back to his ethnic roots and joined the Roman Catholic church. My mom stayed protestant. I converted to Episcopalian when I married Bob.The truth is that worship styles are different and the cross on the altar may be different. However, the messages have all been about the same.The principles all solid.

Someone heard "the call" at the foot of my grandmother's grave. A person that my grandmother had ministered to by word and deed her whole life. As she stood there at my grandmother's funeral, she knew that her time was up. The little angel that had prodded and encouraged her was gone and she had to act.She approached the minister and told him that she wanted to be baptized. She wanted to show Brizie that she was listening and that she had finally gotten through. So my aunt and mom ran up to the house and got some spare clothes and everyone stayed and lingered. The preacher said that some might feel it was inappropriate to have the baptism right there in the creek near Brizie's grave, but he knows it is what she would have wanted. We all knew it, too. So the funeral goers sang and rejoiced and they brought my grandmother's old friend into the church family. She came to Christ right there in that muddy creek, right where Brizie knew she belonged. It was moving. It is like that for some people, the epiphany.

All I know is that faith was a gift given to me as a small child.It was a gift from my dear mother and her mother. It is a gift I will re-gift to my own. It is why we put up the tree and get the gifts and bake the cookies and color the eggs. I listen to my husband telling my kids stories from the bible and it makes me proud of him.I have watched him pray over his sick mother. He came to my child bed with his Eucharistic minister kit and gave me communion and read to me while I recovered. I think Brizie would have approved of my sweetheart.

So here in Bahrain, my children continue to learn about Christmas. Closer to his birthplace then they may ever be again.

No comments:

Post a Comment