Dennis put up our tree today while I was away at work. It was nice to come home and hear Christmas music on and see my hubby with his Santa hat on! He took our puppy out earlier to shovel snow, and they had a blast out there. I wish I had gotten pictures! Right now, he took the dog out to help him run errands and the cat and I are decorating the tree. Well, until she freaked out in sensory overload and left to take a nap somewhere dark and quiet.
I have a lot of ornaments my grandmother gave me every year while I was growing up. For some reason, I have a lot of pink ornaments. I guess because my favorite color forever was pink, and as un-Christmas-y as it is, I can work it in my adult red and white ornament theme. I also got a lot of ornaments from around the world, Grandma looked for hand-made decorations from Mexico, Russia, Germany, etc... And she noticed I liked birds, so I have a lot of bird ornaments.
It's hard not to think of Grandma every Christmas. Or the way she tried so hard to know me and what I liked.
I once said that to Mom, and she said that was pretty much Grandma's goal.
Which is fine, but Christmas is about Christ, I think. Yes, it's wonderful that my family loves me. But again, but Christmas is about Christ. I'm glad that I came to full realization of that when I was sixteen. It was a nice holiday that year, but I keenly felt something missing that year more than ever before. The food was perfect, had a good time with family, presents were great and we even went to Midnight Mass, which was really great. I went for an evening walk and passed by the church. The doors were unlocked and I went in. I sat and contemplated for awhile, no small thing for me, because it was dark and I was afraid of the dark. Only the altar candles were lit and I couldn't see much at all. I prayed, thanking Christ for coming and dying for my sins, and that no matter what happened after I died, I knew that what He did made a difference because He was God and sinless and was the Perfect Lamb of God, who died for the sins of the world, including mine. What great love was that? Who could match that love? And yes, I did feel for the first time, a peace that surpasses all understanding. I asked God to help me know Him and have a relationship with Him.
Where did I learn that this was possible? I don't know. After I thanked Jesus for dying for me, that idea came to me. No one in the Catholic church was preaching about knowing God and having a relationship with Him that I remember. And although the Gospel was clearly presented in the Midnight Mass and in our priest's homily, no one called for a "decision" or any kind of response. I just did. And I'm glad that I did. But now I know, more than ever, that this was not my doing or my effort. And now, more than ever, I know that this story of conversion was never about me in the first place. It's about Him, His great power to reach even a self-involved and insecure teenager like I was and about His great love that He gives to all of us, even to such a wretch like me. Amazing grace. Christmas is coming!
And for that, I'm truely excited.