It seems like we all have recognized that Christmas has gotten way out of control. Too much food, too many parties, too many gifts, too much of everything. For a long time John and I have been thinking about how to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and each year I think we do a little better. It is easy as Catholics because we have Advent, the season of hope and preparation, that is the real celebration. It is easy too, because as Catholics we have so many beautiful, timeless, rituals that are already a part of our traditons. But sometimes I am afraid it is also easy to forget and to get caught up in the endless season of excess. It always seems fun, but it never is.
This year we decided to get really serious and we have taken a vow to live the true meaning of Christmas. My December lesson plans will focus on Advent, and the kids and I will continue learning, but all in the context of the season of Hope. We will make gifts (I'm not that crafty, so sorry if you get a homemade gift from me!), we will live the message of serving and loving others, we will simplify so we have time to just be together. Time to make memories. As I reflect on Sam's surgery, or really even the last nine years of living with this illness, one thing I am certain of is what I want for my children is lots of loving memories. If all else fails, I want them to know that Jesus Christ was born and died just for them and as our favorite priest says, "You are loved". So without being too preachy I recommend this short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-ZBU about the real meaning of Christmas. It reminded me of what I believe in my soul. I bet it does the same for you.