I’ll be packing extra tissues today.
It’s Christmas and I’m off to my sister’s house for great food, fabulous company and lots of weeping and wailing as we enjoy our favorite holiday movies.
The two biggies are Scrooge, the very best adaption of the Charles Dickens classic and The Mousehole Cat, a beautiful animated story that puts me around the bend no matter how many times I’ve seen it.
I've watched these movies many times over the years—particulary Scrooge- and it’s impossible not to think of my parents and, thus, it’s impossible not to cry.
In addition, I’ll be having plenty of wine, pretty much guaranteeing that the tears will flow like the mighty Mississippi.
During last year’s movie event I got a little lubricated, nodded off, and woke up just in time to start crying at some tender scene in Scrooge.
“Go back to sleep!” my sister said and promptly threw a tissue at me.
Ah, family, that’s what the holidays are all about.
I keep telling myself that it doesn’t feel like Christmas, something I do every year. I’m always surprised by how Christmas keeps coming around, like some kind of stealth holiday, but all you have to do is keep an eye on the calendar.
I’m happy to say that I made it to confession yesterday after weeks (months?) of being away from the booth.
The church was nearly empty and it was all decorated for Christmas, just waiting for people to fill the aisles.
I told the priest that I’m still struggling with the anger and resentment burdens that take up far too much of my life.
Christmas Eve You’ll Find Me…
“Forgiveness is one the most difficult things Jesus asked us to do,” he told me. “And, remember, when He was on the cross, He said ‘forgive them, they know not what they do.’”
Yes, well, God knows I’m a long way from that state of mind, but there’s nothing like unburdening to get you back on the right path.
I came out of the confessional feeling emotionally better and physically lighter.
And I made a point of walking around the church and reminding myself how lucky I am to have my family with me at this time of the year, when so many other people are suffering.
Yes, the world is in sorry shape. Yes, we’re still senselessly killing each other. And yes, the election didn’t go the way I wanted it to. But I still have my family.
I’m particularly thankful this year since I got my book published and I regained my job in October after losing it in August. So, yes, I’m quite thankful.
One of my favorite moments in Scrooge happens when the Ghost of Christmas Present explains to Ebenezer just how things work.
“Mortal,” he says. “We Spirits of Christmas do not live only one day of our year. We live the whole three-hundred and sixty-five. So is it true of the Child born in Bethlehem. He does not live in men's hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year.”
And that’s the best description of the Christmas spirit you'll ever hear.