'Twas the Night Before Christmas

belonging, mindfulness, reflection, self growth -

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

As a child, December was about rifling through the Sears and Roebuck Wishbook, writing my letter to Santa, and then snooping through our house to determine where my parents stashed our gifts - I could remove Scotch Tape with the precision of a jewel thief (or at least I thought I could). 

On Christmas Eve, I struggled to fall asleep, and I tried to patiently wait for my parents to wake up so we could open our presents in the morning. Once they did, I tore through the wrapping paper faster than nine reindeer, only to be interrupted by the dreaded words, "It's time to get ready for church."

I hated going to church. I thought it was the ultimate Christmas-buzz kill. Eventually, I walked away from Catholicism as a teenager due to the men who ran the place. But today, I still appreciate the messages from many Bible stories, follow Father Richard Rohr, and am intrigued by Pope Francis. The holidays remain one of my favorite times of the year but for different reasons today. 

Growing up, people tried to teach me the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus in CCD and during Mass, but I didn't fully grasp its meaning.

He wasn't born to the day's celebrity or some viral influencer. Instead, in a humble setting far from red carpet launch parties, God slid quietly into a manger as a baby to a poor couple surrounded by animals during the silence of the night. It was a perfectly understated entrance. It's hard to imagine a story further from today's overconsumptionism.  

While I don't buy into every aspect of the story, it reminds me to slow down and notice what makes us human, from moments of joy like hearing my daughters giggle to recognizing my ancestors' story in those trying to come to America today to feeling the pain that tears at our society's tapestry.

Life is a spinning kaleidoscope of feelings and experiences. We crack, break, and hopefully heal. We celebrate, feel joy, and experience happiness. And its miracle isn't in the stuff we buy; it's something we sense once we slow down, notice the moments between our moments and the magic of this time of year. 

So, whether you are celebrating tomorrow or not, I encourage you to get quiet this week, get outside, and contemplate the miracle you share with all beings and creatures. Please take a moment to Pause, Breathe, and Reflect on how you wish to bring the joy of this time of year into our next one. It might be your best present ever.

Merry Christmas to all, and all a good night. May peace be with you.