This year has been interesting. I usually prefer Easter to Christmas. And even more, I prefer ordinary time. I love that time when Jesus is just walking the hills, sailing in boats, proclaiming his teachings from hillsides. This is where I find Him best. But this year, because of where I am in my life, Christmas has been hard to let go of. And I really think St. Joseph and Our Lady understand. That time in Nazareth when Jesus was a boy. That time when it was just the three of them doing all the homey tasks. Baking bread, teaching Jesus how to pray, how to walk, how to talk. The private time in their home where their family was forged into its own particular and unique entity as each family is. Perhaps they had their own private jokes, their favorite meal, their favorite friends to visit, their favorite games.
And then He grew up. And they had to let Him go. And of course they gave Him willingly and with great generosity to the rest of us. I am sure they could predict how He would be received, the hardships He would face, the disappointments and misunderstandings. The unsafe time. The time away from the private kindness and security of home. And I am SURE they felt a wrench of fear, of anxiety in letting Him go. How could they not?
And so when I think of my own children, all mostly grown now. Christmas brings back memories of our own unique family entity. Our favorite books read over and over again, the movies we quote from almost by second nature, the finishing of each other's sentences, poems memorized and math facts learned in the pumpkin colored basement schoolroom. The sounds of Morrowind playing softly in the background of our school day, 6:30 Mass almost every morning, legos strewn everywhere, movies made, plays written, plays performed. Private jokes. Spaghetti crowded around the kitchen table. Dad reading at night. All these things are from the private kindness of home. Everyone moves on or grows older now. It unravels a bit, and the world intrudes a bit more, and everyone has eyes that face outward to the future. I am sure Our Lady and St. Joseph know this mixture of excitement and anxiety I feel for each of my children. That feeling of wanting to sit among the memories of Christmas just a little bit longer. I feel their sympathy more this year and I have a greater understanding of what they had to give up so that WE might know HIM.