O Holy Night

My mom was the soprano soloist at our little Methodist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts and each Christmas Eve I would sit in the pew with my dad and siblings and listen to my mother’s beautiful voice sing “O Holy Night”. It just wasn’t Christmas Eve until mom sang. As a kid I was always nervous that we were totally messing up Santa’s schedule by being in church. I was convinced we should be home in bed…what if we missed him? Even as a young child I had the need to want to control everything…I’m not fond of surprises.

Now as an adult one of my favorite parts of Christmas is the Christmas Eve Service at our church, seeing the faces of people who have traveled to be with loved ones, the ones with the youngsters and the ones who make their annual trek to the building. The service ends with the congregation singing Silent Night by candlelight and for me that is the love of Christmas.

So let’s just fast forward to this year and hopefully you can stand one more rant about just how much this entire year sucks….because of course, we won’t be attending church on Christmas Eve, we’ll be watching it on Facebook Live….and I think that just about sums up this entire year, Christmas Eve on Facebook…

This past week I listened in as our little guys teacher tried her very best to make the kids holiday celebrations seem normal, and our little guy tried his best to keep his camera shut off and had no interest in the virtual activities. Other than looking for that ridiculous Elf every day, he doesn’t even mention Christmas…

Since March I’ve tried to keep the “this is ok, we’re all in this together, we’ll be OK” going but I have to admit I’m hitting the wall….hard…Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary and our tradition for the past 6 years has been to book a luxurious room at a Boston hotel and attend the Boston Pops Concert followed by a wonderful dinner at one of Boston’s finest restaurants. Of course that’s not how we spent our day yesterday…

Our family is large and we value our Italian roots and most of all I will be missing our gathering tomorrow, our marathon of grazing on amazing foods and drinks sprinkled with the unwrapping of gifts, all the laughing…I will miss our blended kids annual candy exchange, a tradition that begin the year after we married. The grown up kids decided that a bag of candy would suffice as the perfect gift and so the tradition began..in hindsight, they were smart…one size fits all and everyone is happy…

So this evening, I’ll make our families traditional pasta with seafood, my mom’s recipe, and at 5:00 my family will arrive for their Christmas Eve take out dinner…and tomorrow we’ll gather again in the morning, in the garage, staying socially distant from one another and wearing masks to exchange gifts and food each to bring back to their own home. It’s the best we can do under the circumstances.

And tonight, I’ll tune into our church’s Facebook live and do my best to think about all the Christmas Eve’s past and hopefully this ache in my heart will be lifted. And I hope and pray that next year things will be back to normal…..whatever that may be!

Blessings and Peace to all

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