When I was a child, this time of year was all about family and one quirky Christmas Eve ritual.
Every year, our family went to midnight mass at l’Église du Sacré-Coeur in small village of Alexandria, Ontario.
Built in 1909, this church not only served as a landmark for the village, it was the epicenter of the Christmas season for my family. My mom sang in the choir and my father was involved in several aspects of the ministry there.
Christmas Eve was always a big deal at that church and, as a family, we made it a point to be there. Getting the entire family to Midnight Mass was always a big event at our house – I am the eldest of four boys and getting us ready to go to church was no easy task. After making sure we had toques and mittens, my father would announce that he’d accidentally left his gloves in the house. He’d run back in there to get them and it would take him forever! You guessed it, this ritual had nothing to do with the gloves – it was meant to distract us while he played Santa. An hour or two later, we’d return to the house and gifts would be strewn around the Christmas tree.
Yes, the gifts were the focus of attention when I was a child. Today, that seems to be different – I don’t necessarily remember what I got for Christmas when I was 8, but I do remember us being in the car, waiting for my dad, or watching my parents play their role during the Christmas service.
What I remember is family and that’s why I look forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – I get to spend it with my amazing wife and three incredible children.
Yes, there will be gifts under the tree – no “glove” ritual being performed for my kids – and, like my parents did for so many years, I’ll play my role at our church’s Christmas Eve service. When all of that is done, what will remain is my family.
My wish for you this Christmas season is simple – once the presents have been opened and the quirky Christmas Eve ritual you have has been executed – my hope is that you’ll rest in the joy and love of your family.
So, from my family to yours … Merry Christmas.
And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.
A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fears.