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Comfort and Joy

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

When your muse brings you a gift, even at the early hour of 5 a.m., you heed its call.

Scott, me, Hadleigh, Quinn and Miller at Fatima Shrine

Rubbing my eyes in the early dawn light, I could see a poem in the shape of a Christmas tree summoning a lifetime of memories. Knowing I had to act fast, I slipped on my robe and walked down the dark hallway hoping to catch this poem that was calling me. With a tap of my foot, our Christmas tree illuminated the room in rainbow crystal light. Scooting back on the couch listening to the furnace hum, I soaked in the peacefulness and let my mind wander.

Tears well-up in my eyes spying so many ornaments that once adorned my mother's tree, now mine in her passing. And with that thought, a flood of Christmas memories came:

  • Lined up with my siblings in order of age on the stairs we anxiously waited for the signal from Mom that: the coffee was poured, the music was on and Dad was wrapped in his red plaid robe, settled in his chair so we could at last come down.

  • Standing outside in the snow, arm in arm, looking up at the balcony where our very first Christmas tree sparkled.

  • My own three excited children running in and jumping on our bed, after taking a sneaky peak and seeing that Santa had indeed come.

  • And now, images of last night's crisp wintery walk at the Shrine with my granddaughters.

Right on cue at 5 p.m., cars filled with happy families pulled in to the Shrine. CHildren ran with joy down it's paths. It was magical, with every light imaginable flickering to a score of "Oh Holy Night." Remembering the joy on my granddaughter's faces as they rounded each corner to discover a new display filled my heart.

The Grotto

We stopped in the chapel where candles lit for loved ones, flickered like diamonds. Then down a path to the grotto where the Nativity Scene was sheltered. I asked Miller what her favorite part was, fully expecting the lamb on the shoulder of the shepherd or the King's camel.

She raised her eyes to mine, coyly smiled and said, "Baby Jesus,"

Further down the path, near the outdoor altar was a statue of Our Lady of Fatima with the children who saw her vision, carved in stone and kneeling in prayer. Coming upon this, my granddaughter's raced over to the scene, knelt next to them, hands folded in prayer. My heart took a picture.

The furnace clicked off and slipped me back to my beautiful tree holding so many memories. I found myself in a rare moment , when the images and words have been waiting inside of me and finally burst forth in an unstoppable flow.

So, here for you, is a little Christmas gift from my muse.

May your own memories fill your heart this Holiday Season,

and may the peace of Christ bring you comfort and joy.

Merry Christmas everyone.


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