As Maria Shriver’s weekly newsletter prays, “Dear God, thank you so much for this Christmas season and all it represents. Please let me be present in the moments I have with the people I cherish most. And to be mindful that for many this season is challenging, lonely, and complicated. May I show compassion to all with whom I come into contact. I ask you to help me bring my best self to this season. Amen.” Despite occasionally feeling on the verge of burnout, we slow down to savor sweet moments that help anchor us with our faith and others’ unique traditions.
To prepare for Christmas, our boys confessed their sins through reconciliation with their school. Our boys discussed time spent confessing to the priest and repentance. They can be so sweet, self-aware and innocent.
Their faces lit up with wonder and mischief as they visited with Santa at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy. Their school’s Christmas decorations light the way toward 2020.
That evening, we stopped at our tree lot. The boys inspected the trees with their Dad and chose their favorite. They proudly carried it into our home. We inhale the fresh evergreen.
Another night, we enjoyed our boys’ spectacular school Christmas show. Each year, their music teacher exceeds our expectations. We smile at their angelic songs and holiday best. The kindness of our school friends fill our hearts with hope.
This time of year, our boys embrace my Mom’s collection of nativity sets from around the world. Our six-year-old counted at least 33 nativity sets at his grandparents’ home. Since one did not have a manger, he promised he has time to build Mary and Jesus a castle with Lincoln logs to keep them warm and safe. Our oldest gifted his Grandma a baby Jesus he made at school. We admire nativity sets in our community, including the intricate Neapolitan Crèche at the Art Institute of Chicago.
This year, my My Mom won Nutcracker tickets at our school silent auction. The inevitable stress aside, she held my hand as we sat next to each other and marveled at the ballet.
Meanwhile, we treasure cards from loved ones, including friends’ Hanukkah photos. We try to simplify and shop small business, shout out to our friends at Ravensgoods, located at 4703 North Damen Avenue in Chicago.
Best wishes to you over the holidays! May yours be full of self-compassion, love and peace.XOXO