Merry Christmas!

As Christmas rapidly approaches…I mean, like in a couple of hours!…I had a moment to myself (while on-off holding an 11-month old) to reflect on the miracle which we celebrate in Christmas.

Having celebrated the joy of birth four times over, I ruminate in the memories of many great pleasures that come with the birth of a child – from the amazing work done by mothers in the birthing process (or enduring a cesarean) to the delicate tiny hand that grips your thumb after the trauma of birth is over. I have relished the birth of four beautiful children.

As Christmas is dawning, it occurred to me that God, the Father, was just as excited as I was, if not more, in the anticipation of the birth of His Son. Finally! After who knows how many thousands of years, the God of the Universe was bringing forth His Only Begotten Son to change the face of our world forever and bring to fruition His Beautiful Plan of Salvation. Bringing forth His Son to remind us just how much He Loves us!

I imagine His Joy was beyond words. I imagine His Joy would have been so magnanimous that it could have caused a new Star to be born in the sky…one which would point the way to His Son for those wise enough to follow. I imagine He would have been so excited that He would start to tell anyone who had ears to listen that His Son was coming…like to some shepherds guarding their flocks. I imagine the news would have been so important that He would send the Angels themselves to announce the Good News!

As I reflect on the joys of my own children’s births and connect them to His, it brings back memories of times when God and I would acknowledge the deep Love we share for my kiddos.

I believe that we are capable of being good parents, because God Himself is The Good Parent to all of us. I sometimes forget that. I’ll forget that all Good things come from God. But, every once in awhile He will take a second to remind me. Like tonight…

Tonight at Christmas Mass, God took a second to remind me just how much He and I Love our boy, Riley.

My boy is a chip off the old block. Just as I would terrorize my sisters growing up and infuriate my parents any which way I could, so too, does Riley. At the same time, the little man is capable of melting our hearts in an instant with awe-inspiring gentleness and sincerity.

It was the end of Mass, and I caught a glimpse of Riley in prayer. I tell you it was such a beautiful moment of 100% genuineness that it completely melted away any anxieties or frustrations I had been carrying. But, first, some back-story…

Over a year ago I shared a touching moment in my life when, after leaving adoration, I had an opportunity to watch my son from a distance walk to church with his class. In that moment, I was caught up in appreciating my son when God came and joined me to tell me how pleased He is with Riley. In fact, we both spoke the same words spoken at Christ’s baptism as we watched my son. As tears filled my eyes, God and I stood still admiring our son and acknowledging how pleased we are with him.

Back to Christmas Mass now…when I spied Riley deep in prayer, I was caught off-guard. I was very pleased with him. I was amazed at how a seven year old boy could have such a profound relationship with God. It remind me of the moment described above. As I started to reminisce, God took another second to remind me of how pleasing Riley is. I took the opportunity to acknowledge that truth tonight. So, yet again, God and I both took a second to acknowledge how pleased we are with our son. I also turned to God and begged Him to make me a support and not a stumbling block for my son and his relationship with God.

Hours later, I asked Riley what he spoke in prayer. Without hesitation he shared the prayer with me. He said:

“Jesus, I hope you are having a nice birthday. I love you very much and I hope you love me. Have a nice night.”

I told my son, “Boy, He is very pleased with you.”

With the impending joy of Christmas, I pray that we all might be reminded of several truths:

That God Loves us…even to the point of humbling Himself into Human Flesh.

That our families can bring us incredible joy, no matter how much they may drive us off the wall.

That Christ is the greatest gift of the season and that all great gifts are meant to be shared.

Merry Christmas to all!

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