“Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” Matthew 1:19-24
I am a Christmas baby. Wait, you think… your birthday is not on Christmas or even in the month of December… What are you talking about, Kelly? Well… let me explain… I will go off on a tangent now… one that actually seems to go in the opposite direction…. But be assured it will make some sort of sense (I hope…haha).
If you know me, you’d know that I actually do not really care for the Christmas season. It has always been stressful for me. Yes I will defend saying Merry Christmas (my last blog) but really, it is not my favorite holiday. My favorite holiday would have to be Thanksgiving… all that is expected of you is to cook and eat food and BE with family… and be thankful to God for it all… I wish Christmas was like that…
I suppose it IS, or is supposed to be… a time to get together with family and be joyful… but I don’t feel that way during the month leading up to Christmas. When I hear people say, “This is my favorite season! I love Christmas!” I sort of sneer to myself (bah humbug)… I have never completely felt that way about Christmas… well, maybe as a child… but once I became a parent and had the burden (yes I used that word… burden) of buying gifts I have always felt stressed over the season. YES I KNOW it should never be about the presents (loot!) but seriously… it is… no ifs, ands or buts… it is what is expected from us… to buy others gifts! I hate that … the whole BUYBUYBUY mentality~ It stresses me out to no end. (I know it shouldn’t but it does… still working on that… it’s taking me years).
To me the perfect gift is seeing my kids smile and rejoice over the gifts they receive… and if I cannot buy them what they want I feel like a failure, like I let them down. YES I know, Christmas is about Jesus and his birth… BUT it is a holiday for children and if I disappoint them I feel I have failed. So… I stress out … and to top it off it is also the month where it seems I have the most bills to pay…. Ugh.
And this year has been the hardest for me. My father passed away a week before Thanksgiving, so this will be the first Christmas without him. Also the same time my father died my husband was without a job… so add that on top of how I usually feel during Christmas… o.O yeah… not pretty.
But I prayed (and hoped.. and tried not to worry. HA!) … I asked ~intercessory prayer~ from St Joseph (patron saint of workers) and to my father… and within a couple of weeks my husband was working (praise be the Lord!)! Sigh of relief. So thankful for our Father God in Heaven, for St. Joseph, my father and for my husband.
On this Fourth Sunday of Advent the gospel centers not on Mary… but on a good, honorable, righteous man, Joseph, her husband and Jesus’ earthly father. His reaction to the whole crazy situation… finding his wife with child and then hearing and responding to the angel… wow, thank God for St Joseph and his own ‘fiat.’ As I thought about this gospel reading this morning in church (between the gift of tears) I thought of my own father. It struck me several years ago… nine months before I was born~ what time of year was it, what were my parents doing, what was going on in their life, where were they? My birthday is September 24th… so count back… I was conceived around (or on!) Christmas Eve! See, though I act like a whining Grinch… I am a Christmas baby!
So as we head into the last couple of days of Advent, I let go of that stress… I let go… and let God. And what did He do? I was reminded this morning during mass (by the Holy Spirit… who likes to wap me upside of the head with small epiphanies) that I was created (49 years ago!) out of my father’s love for my mother during the blessed Christmas season. Yeah that’s awesome…
Now that is the greatest gift.
My dad and I, circa 1968.