Be Not Afraid… Merry Christmas.
There is something magical about Christmas. Beyond the commercialism of belief and hope in a guy named Santa, whom by the way I very much believe in, and beyond the need to receive. There is a magic of this season that always reminds me of being a child. The magic I felt in church singing Christmas carols with mom in the front pew all those years, the magic of the Christmas story told over and over. The hope and belief in the newness of life, in the miracle of all that is and all that could be…There is something magical about Christmas… and I felt it again today.
I made my usual rounds to get coffee and check my mail. I walked out of my UPS store today with a different feeling. I had a lump in my throat, a warmth overwhelm me. I opened the package I had just signed for… but this one was very different. Not a phone charger or a magazine, not a present for someone else or ink for my printer.
I held in my hands a book that had my name on it. The book I have wanted to hold in my hands since I was seven.
Today, on Christmas Eve, I was reminded of the newness of life, of the miracle of all that is and all that could be. For so long I told myself I couldn’t or I wasn’t good enough or no one would read it. Today, that story was re-written. And as I sat there holding my book, I realized that the tears that fell today were happy, joyous tears. Today, on Christmas Eve, I felt the magic.
I spent the evening with friends who are more like family, laughing and enjoying each other, just how Christmas should feel. I felt the magic in the room that was dancing in each laugh, hanging on each story that was shared. When I left, I was feeling fulfilled and blessed.
I drove to church for the special music before the 11pm service. The tradition I have written about before. I was blessed enough to not go alone but instead had one of my closest friends in the pew next to me. There was magic in that church tonight. The half hour of special music that my mom always adored was beautiful. She was on my mind and in my heart for every note.
Then, as the lights dimmed and the candles were lit and we sang Silent Night, I again was reminded of the magic of Christmas. I sat there thinking back to my Christmas blog from last year and realized how much it’s possible to grow in a year. I felt the same emotions, but from a new perspective. I was missing mom. But I felt a magic and a peace through the music that she loved and through the tradition that exists every year. I felt her with me. And the miracle of that is too overwhelming to try to explain.
I also thought about the fact that my book was sitting in my car, including last year’s Christmas blog and the one I wrote the year before. I was thinking about how my Christmas tradition includes coming home from church and writing. There is always power in the magic I feel on this day.
And then it hit me… what a perfect ending to the day… to write the first story of my next book on the same night that I held my first book. This was my Christmas present to myself, and to feel the magic that was with me all day… that’s what the Christmas story is all about. And all of a sudden the cant’s and the fears fell away.
One Christmas, while my family was living in Montclair, we took mom to the late service. It would be her last Christmas Even service that she would be able to attend. I remember the sermon structured around the words from the Christmas story that the angel told Mary and Joseph that night.
“Be not afraid…” I remember this was the beginning of Mom’s decline and the beginning of the need for a wheelchair and a lot of help to do everyday things. I remember how this hit us all… but perhaps no one more than Mom. She wept, openly. I held her hand and remember for the first time feeling the need to console her more than she consoled me. I know she was looking for solace in those words. I think we all were.
In that moment I felt the Magic of Christmas. And as I heard those words in the Gospel tonight, I remembered mom’s surrender to the miracle of faith and love.
Belief, hope, magic, the newness of life… The miracle of all that is and all that could be. Through the notes sung and the words spoken, through the magic of friends and family, through the sense of wonder I feel in my child-like heart tonight… I am at peace.
And tomorrow, I will put my book in mom’s hands so she can be a part of my newness of life, my very own miracle and the magic that she helped me to understand.
I know she will feel it too.
Be not afraid. The miracle of all that is and all that could be is real.