Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Lights

Traditions are sometimes difficult when someone you love is missing from the moment.  My heart tugged from missing Austin yesterday and pulled towards Noah and enjoying the memories all at the same time.  As I called Noah into the kitchen to work on our holiday baking, I could feel Austin there with us and knew he would want us to continue this activity as we always had. 

We were having a hard time getting the white chocolate to melt to dip our Oreo balls, and had already burnt a batch, when Noah ran to his room to get something.  Seconds later he returned with a tiny lightning man toy.  He sat him beside the stove and said, "Help Mom!"  It seemed as though I'd have to stir the pot until my arm fell off when all of the sudden a beam of light from the window hit the little man and he started to glow.  I shouted to Noah and we stood there looking at the single ray of light, covered in goosebumps, and noticed the chocolate was melted.  Smiling at each other, we commented that maybe we had a little extra help from a special chef with our baking today.

Another holiday tradition we have is to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  When the boys were younger, I can remember pulling on coats over our pjs and taking a thermos of homemade hot cocoa for the ride.  We'd sing Christmas songs as we slowly drove by each display.  Typically, we'd do this on Christmas Eve but with the weather forecast, Tim and I decided to go last night after Noah got out of ball practice.  We wanted to surprise him with Patch, our dog, and dinner on the go, as we drove around town to see the lights this year.

While waiting for him to come out, we noticed a little boy in a truck on the other side of the parking lot.  Every so often his little head would pop out of the sun roof and he'd shine a flashlight around.  Tim grabbed the long flashlight he keeps between his seats and they began to play.  Blink, Blink...and a quick duck inside the safety of his truck....slowly peeking out to see Tim's blink, blink back.  After a few moments of this, Tim remembered we were in his truck (fully equipped for fire) and he hit his flashing lights.  The little boys mouth made a giant O as he jumped down and whispered something to his mom.  Whenever Tim would stop, the little boy would blink his flashlight and shake it until he turned them on again.  We laughed and played this game until Noah arrived.  I was thankful for the light mood it brought to us as we set out for another tradition without Austin there.

As we pulled over for a dashboard dinner, I commented on the glow behind a building in front of us.  Slowly, a shining ball of moonlight floated up above us.  It grew and glowed and followed us on our drive to view the lights.  Honestly, it was one of the best displays we saw last night, as we were a little disappointed at the low number of houses with lights.  Towards the end, my Christmas spirit was starting to deflate, as my hopes of seeing several beautiful lights did not happen.

When we arrived home, snuggled by the fire to warm, I looked out on the deck and noticed how high the moon had risen.  Beside it was a single star and it reminded so much of the Christmas star of Bethlehem.  It was simple and beautiful and I thought back to that special night, so many years ago.  That star was the first Christmas light.  It didn't take hundreds or thousands, not some large display to announce the occasion.  Just a single, simple light, sent to guide the wise men to find a newborn child.

And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him..."

I was thankful to be reminded again of the reason we celebrate this most glorious season.  It has nothing at all to do with decorations, trees, or presents.  While those traditions of Christmas are fun and memorable moments, it is the gift of God's love that we should be celebrating.  And, while we miss Austin still with every breath, I cannot imagine the beauty he sees this year in Heaven.  What an amazing birthday party it must be when you are with the guest of honor at Christmastime!


Anonymous said...

Front Row seats and no doubt to be a member of the choir....the Angels God calls to be there are special.

I've known that from when I was a teenager and my own Grandma was called to see the show on Dec 23, 1976...there was a major snow storm that Christmas when I was living in Cleveland and we knew it would be treacherous for all who risked making the trip.
But, the one thing that kept us all focused was the fact that Grandma was going to be in Heaven to celebrate the MOST important day of the year and we'd have to see how much of the stars we'd be able to see thru the clouds and blizzard-like conditions.

This sentiment has stayed with me all of these years...for, with my family, it seems we all try to make it to Heaven for the show...between mid November and the end of January is a popular time for my relatives to leave this earth for the next life. My heart seems heavy at times but having the Nativity Scene either in the house or going to see it in church always makes me feel better....

Headed to church shortly for Christmas Eve celebration...I just love the Christmas carols sung at Mass this time of year...."Oh Come All Ye Faithful....."
On this Silent Night, you too will find the Peace on Earth that is needed to move to the new day!!!

Hugs to you, my friend...Hugs to you!!!

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