Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas After Loss

I am finding so many worthwhile things to blog about, but haven't done it. The holidays have been fairly difficult this year. Trying to put up the tree and other Christmas decorations has brought back so many childhood memories, as well as a sense of the limited time we really have on earth.

If you've read my previous posts, you'll know that the sadness this year is because of the loss of my Mom.

I love listening to Christmas music, but it brings tears to my eyes every time now because December was full of Christmas music growing up. I listen anyway. The memories are worth the tears.

My daughter wanted the Relient K Christmas CD. It turns out it's quite difficult to get, so I ended up purchasing a digital download. It's all pretty good and really shows their sense of humor (starting with the title, Deck the Halls and Bruise Your Hand.) As much as I like it overall, one song in particular stands out. It's called I Celebrate the Day. It asks the age-old question about whether or not Jesus knew He was the Saviour from birth. It also addresses the issue of seeing another year go by and finding your relationship with God in the same place it was the year before. Here's the first verse:

And with this Christmas wish is missed the point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency we're less than half as close as I want to be

I can relate all too well to that. That song is one of the reasons I keep listening to Christmas music despite the tears.

Something unusual happened while I was putting up the tree. You remember how, as a child, you really felt the magic of Christmas? Remember how Christmas had a distinct feel to it? Then you reach a certain age and you find that the magic isn't the same. Christmas is still good, but feels a lot like any other day.

For several minutes while putting up the tree that old feeling of Christmas came back. It's been decades since I've felt it. I'm still amazed that through my tears, I could still feel the magic. All I could do is hope that it was Mom stopping by with her own Christmas gift.

The only thing I can say is that it was priceless.

I wish Christmas magic for all of you this season.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Passion and Service

I am Catholic. I love the Mass, but in the past I have sometimes found that my mind wanders a great deal when I'm at church. There is a lot of repetition, and it can be hard to keep attending to the same words week after week.

I've often wondered how priests manage daily Mass and several on the weekends. They not only say the same prayers over and over, but if they give mulitple Masses they get to constantly repeat their sermons.

On Friday, December 8, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This past year or so we have frequently attended a church where the music is inspiring and the priest clearly loves what he does. When I looked at the priest on Friday, it occurred to me that this man loves praying the Mass. I think he looks forward to Holy days because it gives him an excuse to offer more Masses.

This priest glows with his love for God and his passion for what he does. Needless to say, he has inspired a lot of people, myself included. I look forward to Mass at his church.

Switchfoot strikes me as being a lot like Father Mark. They love what they do so much that they will sometimes find a local coffee shop where they can play after completing a concert. These are people who are clearly doing what they choose to do with their lives. In the process, they have inspired many.

It makes me wonder: do people who follow their passions tend to be those who make more of a difference to others? Switchfoot has touched a lot of lives. Father Mark has also touched many.

Father Mark and the members of Switchfoot serve others while living passionate lives. I wonder what the world would be like if we all did the same.