|The most awesome nativity scene at St. Mary parish|
A few reflections. Neither my wife, nor I, have what is commonly known as 'gainful' employment. My wife was let go from her position at McGraw-Hill when a computer in New York cut her position along with hundreds of others three weeks before Christmas. Meanwhile, I have been working for the American Family Life Assurance Company, otherwise known as Aflac (you know, the duck). It's a good job and a great product, but make no mistake - if you don't come into it with a book of contacts and networks, or if you don't live in an area with endless millions of businesses, it will likely take a few years to get on your feet. With my wife losing her job and soon neither of us having steady - if any - income, we don't know what the future brings.
In addition to this, of course, we've dealt with the loss of my Dad, my Mom moving in with us, severe family problems with which my sister has had to contend, and problems in our schools regarding our sons, particularly our 13 year old. Long story short there, he's obviously a very gifted student, scoring among the top in his grade in science among others, but due to bureaucratic red tape and arbitrary guidelines, he has continually been cast out of the advanced classes despite scoring better in tests and getting better grades than some other students in the classes. All of our objections have been for naught. For a while we considered homeschooling, but just before we sent the documents to the school system, my wife's job was terminated.
So at this point we have no clue what the future holds. We pray that we will have the faith and good graces to accept whatever door is opened for us, and that a door is indeed opened. What the future holds, we can't even come close to guessing at this point.
All this is to say that, despite it all, we tried to make this a fine Christmas for all. Our oldest sons are aware of the circumstances and, naturally, can't help but be a little worried. But for it all, we stretched the season out, thanks to the Catholic tradition of actually celebrating Christmas for 12 days after Christmas, rather than stressing and straining in the weeks leading up to the 25th, and then tossing it all aside the next day. We also partook in the lovely generosity of some anonymous parishioners who heard of our plight and added some material joy to the mix. When it was all done and over, I think, as Dickens would say, we kept Christmas well.
Our prayer is that by the end of the year, we will know for what it was for, and how the paths of our lives were to find their purpose and God's plan. Here is the family, the last night of Christmas Season proper, regaling any passersby with our rendition of the greatest Christmas Carol while enjoying our little lights display one last time until next year.