Right now, I am alone. I sit in the living room with the curtains open looking outside. Every thing is still. The only noise I hear is quiet, for now. I sip a glass of wine. I have prepared snacks for the kids and I to eat. They are both adults. Christmases are so different now. The girl child, who has cancer, is exhausted. So, she is sound asleep. I checked in on her after Mass. The kitties were annoyed that I woke them up, and they turned their backs on me in unison, but she slept. She did not go to Midnight Mass, so I'm glad she is sleeping. The boy child went to an earlier Mass so that, after our celebration, he and his friends who were home for Christmas could get together for a couple of beers. He'll be home in a bit. He texted me to let me know it would be in about a half an hour, or so. I'll be up to have some snacks with him before going to sleep. Pixie, my dog, is snoring on the couch now, but that noise doesn't disturb my peace.
Mass was beautiful! Advent flew quickly into Christmas. I hope I pleased God with my efforts to grow spiritually. I tried, but the season of Advent is, simply, not long enough. God provides, and there is now time for reflection.
Mass brought me so much joy this year. The manger was beautiful! Seeing the baby in the crib with Mama Mary reaching for her new born Son brought tears to my eyes.
God loved the world so much that He gave His only Begotten Son that we might have eternal life! That thought overwhelms me in this moment.
One of the kitties has come downstairs and is forcing himself in my lap. I puts his head under my hand. I have no other choice but to pet him. Pixie sees this and turns her head. It's so quiet right now. There is a peace in the silence. Time is passing slowly. I savor these moments in the dark with only the light of the lit tree. Peace grows. The silence continues to envelope me.
The decorations at Mass were beautiful, even the fresh garlands. I had volunteered to go and fluff the garlands, but I forgot. The people who decorated made the church feel joyous and welcoming. My heart was joyous tonight. The celebration of the Mass was holy. God poured down His blessings upon us. I left Mass hopeful, even though I experienced uncontrollable tears at times during the Mass. Wrongs were righted. Reconciliations were made. Many people without families nearby had plans to meet together for dinner on Christmas Day. God worked great miracles at midnight Mass.
Kitty has moved over to Pixie. Pixie just looks at me as kitty forces his way on to Pixie's back. Pixie does not appreciate kitty at all, but just goes back to sleep. I glance at my phone. It's almost 1:30 AM. That's way past my bedtime, but I'm really not sleepy now.
I reflect more on the lessons learned this Advent Season.
God loves me.
More importantly, I learned that I love God! I know I could love Him more, but I really didn't think I loved Him.
I thank Him for this gift.
I hear the girl child come down the stairs. She's amazed that I'm still awake. She asks if the boy child is home yet. I tell her that he will be home shortly. She's hungry, so she gets out the snacks. Then, like a little girl, she comes and puts her head on my shoulder. I see tears in her eyes. I can only hold her in my arms. We seem to breathe in unison. She decides that it's time to get back to sleep. Kitty is still on top of Pixie, and does not like being picked up. We all sigh.
Silence again. After the girl child is asleep in her childhood room, I weep silently. This is not easy. My heart breaks even more.
I see a car driving into the driveway. The boy child walks in the door with cookies in his hands. He is still a Cookie Monster, all 6'4" of him. He smiles and asks how his sister is doing. I tell him that she's sleeping again. He asks how Mass was. I tell him it was beautiful. He smiles and digs into the food. I can't believe he's still hungry! We both seep into the silence. It's a beautiful time.
I finish my wine. He finishes the snacks. I hug him and tell him I love him,. He tells me that he loves me too. We're both tired now. I walk upstairs to go to bed. I thank God again. I pray that my children both allow God to work in their hearts. I pray that they both encounter the living God this Christmas season.
I turn out the lights and roll over. Sleep is instant and peaceful.
I dream of the manger. I dream that I am rocking the sweet baby boy. Then Christmas Day dawned.