... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Anticipation

Mr. And Mrs. Santa had invited me to the Christmas Eve Family Mass. Not realizing how popular this Mass was, I almost couldn’t find a seat when I arrived. The old church was decorated with evergreen boughs, holly, and red bows; candles flickered in the stained glass windows. The organ played softly and an occasional tiny bell would ring somewhere in the pews
followed by a parent’s whispered “Shhhhhhh, not yet.”

As I looked around, there were children everywhere. Little girls in red dresses sat on their Daddy’s lap trying to see around the grown-ups. Little boys in Christmas sweaters wiggled and moved from Mommy to Daddy to Grandma and back. Older children tried to help with their younger siblings, but excitement was in the air. All the children had small jingle bells on a red or green ribbon, which were so hard keep from ringing.

A hush ran through the pews as the altar boys lit the candles; Father Fitz’ entered and knelt before the altar as the choir began to sing. The mass had begun.

In place of the homily, a tiny Mary and little Joseph slowing came down the middle aisle. By the time they reached the front, a manger and bales of hay had appeared. Once again, our attention went to the aisles as equally small shepherds with stuffed sheep and wooden staffs joined the nativity scene. As they arrived and knelt, I saw a baby doll in the manager. Looking back, the kings, minus camels, carefully carried gifts adorned with “jewels” as they tried to look straight ahead and not lose their crowns.

Father Fitz’ asked, “Who’s birthday is it?” Children yelled out “Jesus ” and Father Fitz’ smiled as a few “Santa Clauses” mixed in and were quickly hushed. “I think we should have a birthday cake for our celebration, don’t you?”

Heavy bells rang along with “Ho, ho, ho and Happy Birthday ” There was Mr. Santa ringing his bells and Mrs. Santa carefully carrying the birthday cake toward the altar. All the children’s bells were ringing now.

As Santa reached the front, he quietly spoke to the priest as Mrs. Claus laid the cake on a small table. As she knelt before the altar, the bells ceased to ring so Santa could speak. I do not remember his exalt words but he explained about St. Nicholas and that Christmas was all about Christ. And giving a nod he ascended the steps and knelt to pray before the manger.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the church it was silent. A violin softly began to play “Away in a Manger.” The lights dimmed slowly until only candlelight remained. Father Fitz prayed as the lights slowly came back on. Santa was gone. The mass continued, but I don’t remember any of it. Just like the children, I was awe struck when Santa prayed at the manger.

When the mass was over, children received a cupcake with a candy cane as they hurried out; some to open gifts, others to be tucked in bed. For me, Christmas had already arrived. I sang “O Come, Let Us Adore Him” and “O Holy Night” all the way home.


Shalom, Connie

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