Christmas Now and Then


I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Celebrations all over the world brighten our hearts. I’m thinking now, like many of you, about first Christmases. I recall adults holding my mitten-covered hands, walking me to and from mass on moonlit nights through crunching, scrunching snow. I feel the warmth of the church and smell the incense, fur coats, and candle wax. Louisiana Christmases are alike in this way—we gather, we look, we listen. But unlike in childhood, most of us now are more excited about the giving than the getting. Presence means more to us. The sweetness of those who gather and tell again the stories of how it used to be ground us securely in hope. Yeah, it is funny how we sat there waiting for the turkey to cook, and it did not because SOMEONE (not mentioning any names, UNCLE JACK!) did not turn the oven on. We grow in our understanding that it is not the absence of hardship that caused our families to know how to make do—and make do some more—but that we got to be great at problem solving because we had problems to solve. So, y’all, let’s celebrate the things this season that go wrong because some things surely will. And this may be your own “present” for Christmas gatherings ahead of you.

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