Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas so I'm going to be nice.

This is rare. Pay attention.

I went to midnight mass tonight. The mass was being offered for my late grandparents, Glen and Dorothy Haskin. As I sat there I couldn't help but think about the many Christmas's in which we all gathered at their house for our annual Christmas brunch. Yesterday I went for a walk and found myself standing in their old front yard. Their house has been knocked down and is in the process of being replaced with a monstrosity of a residence that sticks out like a sore thumb on the block. Something inside me dies every time I see it.

But I can close my eyes and go back.

I can see the blue paint, the concrete porch, the little extra step by dad put in for my grandpa after the cancer robbed him of his vigor, the light post, the narrow driveway I used to shovel, the flower beds that I used to sit and weed for hours and hours lost in my own thoughts, the black chain link fence, the hose I ran over and sliced open with the lawn mower, the stump of the tree my dad and I cut down in the front yard, and then the pit that replaced that stump some years later which I used to twist my ankle in at least once a summer.

I can close my eyes and still hear Bob Seger blare over the radio as I repainted the deck in my last few weeks leading up to my first semester away from home, and I can see the wooden yellow bird atop the post, wings spinning in the wind. I can travel in the house and see the kitchen I spent an entire winter's break remodeling, and the "secret" door which connected my mother's old room to the backroom.

I can close my eyes and it's Christmas time there again. The village is set up. The little tree is lit and in the front window, adorned with the gulf ball shaped Santa that I got my grandpa when he just started his cancer treatment. The card tables, where I used to help my grandma wrap presents just days before, have been cleaned up and set for breakfast. The kitchen table is pressed up against the wall and filled with coffee cakes, bacon, sausage, ham, banana bread, and most importantly my grandma's scrambled eggs. The last memory I have of my grandma is when my mom made me go over there one night and fix her some eggs, sunny side up, because that was the only thing she really had an appetite for anymore. I remember being so terrified I was going to screw them up. I probably did too, but she would have never let on because that's exactly what my grandparents were about. Unconditional love. That's exactly what my Grandma and Grandpa Deutsch are about too. Never were there any two homes I have ever felt more welcome into than my grandparents'. And even though one of those homes is gone now, the memory of those who lived there is still just as alive and inviting. All I have to do is close my eyes.

So why am I telling you all this? Because Christmas is about love and families. Christmas is about God's love for us shown by sending his only son here to Earth to be born in a manger. It's about the Holy Family and how they had to stick together and get through trial after trial to make sure Jesus was brought into this world according to God's plan, and that he was able to survive and thrive in a loving family environment. Christmas is about our families too, striving to be like that of Jesus'.

Not every Christmas is going to be like the one before. In the course of life we must grow up and grow old. Our heroes will pass on, but new ones will be born to take their place. Our families will grow and take on new meanings. There will come a time where we must bend and accept changes and additions, or in some case loses. But Christmas...Christmas itself, will always be about the same thing. A little baby lying in a manger, oblivious of the impact he would have on the world. A husband and wife, cold and weary from an incredible journey huddling over this life they must nuture. A family. A family in the hands of God.

Keep that in mind this Christmas. Thank God for your families. And thank God for his willingness to share his with us.

Merry Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone could have described that better than you Bridget... you have an amazing way with words, don't ever lose that!

Merry Christmas!

Rob said...

ok, I have to admit, I have a tear in my eye. Thank you for the beautiful memories.

onewomanwonder said...

Bridget...Thank you!

Anonymous said...

merry christmas ho bag! deal. katie whittaker. 15%.

stc love
whittaker <3

Bridget said...

16% for you my friend.

Anonymous said...

Bridget, your grandparents have been incredible gifts in your life. Just as you have been a wonderful gift in mine.

Anonymous said...

that was such a cool post, Bridget. it sounds like your grandparents were amazing people. thanks for sharing with us what they meant to you and for what you wrote about Christmas.

Poppy Buxom said...

Bridget, that was simply gawjous.

And now, I feel it is my duty to tell you that YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED.