Winston Churchill remarked, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing, but of reflection.” Since our world paused and reset with the pandemic restrictions March, we confront and learn more about systematic racism, inequality, and social unrest while economic uncertainty challenges livelihoods. We wear masks and social distance with clean hands. We still shop small business to help support our community. Meanwhile, our hearts break for those who’ve lost loved ones. Humbled, we wonder with gratitude at our family journey.
The priest, who presided over my husband’s Aunt Margaret’s low-key funeral mass, marveled that she married in that same parish more than 70 years ago. Born as World War I ended, our elegant and dignified Aunt Margaret adjusted to hardship, loss and suffering. The family weathered the Great Depression from their grocery storefront. They supported and celebrated the Civil Rights Movement and other human rights milestones. Aunt Margaret kept an immaculate home with vintage white furniture. She continued to cook and crochet blankets for family members when she could no longer shop.
Faith in God anchored her with strength and grace. Aunt Margaret studied history until her last days against the backdrop of Covid cases. We felt close to Aunt Margaret as my husband sang “Ave Maria” and “Panis Angelicus” from the choir loft during her funeral.
This year reinforced how much we cannot control. We do not celebrate with friends or extended family this 2020. Rather than perform in their school’s annual show, our boys sang at home.
We aspire to the wisdom and meaning of Christmas in these words, attributed to Mother Theresa. “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.”
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