Following dinner and a day of dusting the blinds scouring every nook and helping mom prepare the canapés that were popular in the ’50 for the company on Christmas Eve, we were told to go upstairs to see what Santa had brought us. All excited, I’d run to the bedroom I shared with my four brothers, only to find a new pair of corduroys and a shirt. Those weren’t items I put on my imaginary list to Santa. The night wasn’t over though, so I donned the new clothes and hoped for better things to come.
Soon, the aunts, uncles and cousins starter showing up ‘til the house was filled with people who were becoming more and more familiar to me. I especially liked to see grandpa who would magically make pennies appear from quarters. We got to keep the pennies, and the dollar that came in a bank envelope with our name on it. When the evening was over, we’d go down the street to Immaculate Conception Church for Midnight Mass.
Today, I’m looking forward to our cousins party this coming Friday. I know all forty-five of my first cousins, many of whom will be there, but their children and now their grandchildren, throw me into a dither trying to remember who’s who. On Christmas Eve, my brothers and their families will gather at my niece’s, share some food, reminisce and once again, I’ll head back into town to attend Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s in downtown Chicago.
This Christmas business comes at just the right time of year. The long dark, cold nights and overcast days of December make me long for Spring even knowing that here in Chicago, that’s often not much better weather-wise. As a child I was taught that Christmas was all about the birth of Jesus in a stable at Bethlehem bringing God to life in our midst, our Emmanuel. Today, I appreciate that story, but understand why earlier Christians chose this time of year to remember our roots. It’s a holy day and a holiday, a holiday that started in pagan Rome and… well I’ll let the History Channel tell you all about it in their Real Story of Christmas… My hope, is that no matter what your religious beliefs, you’ll find much joy and peace at this festive time of year. Happy Holidays
Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey