Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas: We Cannot Calm Each Other's Restlessness

Merry Christmas 2013! Praised be Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, the Prince of Peace, God-With-Us, our hope.

Ok, Teresa too. My little girls.
We had a quiet Christmas at home this year. Well, it was as quiet as Christmas with five kids can be. They still have plenty of enthusiasm, even if Josefina is the only one still young enough to have that little kid sense of wonderfulness that is practically bursting out of her.

We went to the morning Mass, and then came home to take our annual Christmas photo before changing into comfy clothes and opening presents. That picture has circulated plenty among friends, but I'll post it again here for the record:

The Janaros, Christmas 2013
Presents: lots of things to eat and small items. We did get a new microwave oven, thanks to a gift card from Eileen's brother. Uncle Walter came and added to the fun (and the stash of presents). Then we had a really good dinner.


Even in difficult times, this day in December has a hold on us. It won't allow us to lose our sense of wonder.

But as we grow older, the celebration of Christmas is more and more filled with memories that are precious and tender but also irrevocably past. People who shaped this day for many years are no longer part of it. The present time, and (God willing) the times to come will bring fresh memories, but we become more aware of how fragile they are.

It is not so much that we learn to take nothing for granted. Rather, we learn that everything is granted. Everything is a gift. We pass through life, through time and pain and aching loss. Past memories and present suffering can cause us to weep, and we learn how poor we are in front of one another.

All of our gifts and all the efforts of our love fall short, and we cannot calm each other's restlessness.

Still our present moments and our memories have a warm glow like garland when we remember that they reflect the light that is leading us home.