Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

It's Christmas morning. The house was quiet when I got up around 10:30 AM. We are at our son's house in Chicago. I guess he and his partner had been up earlier, but were not when I got up. Now almost everyone is up, the TV is on with some Christmas special, and I hear many voices. There are no young children in the house.

How different from 50+ years ago. In the Todd household we had quite a Christmas ritual down. It started Christmas eve, when we put the tree up and decorated it. Many other decorations went up that day, some after we three kids went to bed.

One thing that had been in place for a week or so was the manger scene, on top of the sewing machine in the dining room. The only figures in it were animals. Mary and Joseph were across the room in one direction, the Magi across the room in another. I don't think we separated the shepherds and sheep from the stable. On the days leading up to Christmas, Mary and Joseph began their trek to Bethlehem, moving across the room. They arrived at the stable on Christmas eve.

Christmas morning we put baby Jesus in the manger in the stable, and started the Magi on their trek. Twelve days later, on Epiphany, they arrived.

That seems to have been a good tradition. It was a somewhat accurate version of what the Bible says happened. I wish we had done it with our kids.

Another part of the routine was that we could open our stockings and one present before going to mass. The rest of them had to wait until after church, after lunch, and until family gathered. Or, if we were going to our grandparents for our evening Christmas dinner, we had our family presents in the early afternoon, then more at the grandparents in the late afternoon. I suppose not many parents these days have tried to train their children to wait on presents.

Once we children were old enough to attend Midnight Mass, the routine changed some. We still couldn't tear into presents, but the waiting time was greatly reduced, not being interrupted by morning church.

Merry Christmas everyone. May the Holy Spirit fill you today, and make it a special day of celebration of Jesus' birth.

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