Friday, December 21, 2012

A harder wait for the Christmas moment

It’s that time of year when I wait for the Christmas moment that defines the meaning of rebirth, renewal and hope.

Frankly, given recent events, the moment might be harder to come by. And, rather than wait for it to come, I might have to go in search of it this year.

My Christmas season doesn’t start until the Advent season, no matter how hard advertisers try to push Christmas on us so soon after Halloween.

Let me get through Thanksgiving. Let me get through the godawful Black Friday nonsense. Then, and only then, will I start turning my attention to Christmas.

But this year the Advent weeks have been hard on me.

First, I lost a mentor and friend, Peter Watson, to a brain tumor at age 73.

But Peter was no ordinary 73-year-old.. He was fit, fit enough to run up Mt. Washington every year. And he was active. He should have been around for many, many more years, keeping tabs and visiting occasionally on the many, many journalists who passed through his doors and under his watch for so many years.

Then of course there was the news out of Newtown, Conn., and the unfathomable killing of 20 children and six staffers at the elementary school there..

This was crushing. Sandy Hook Elementary School is a neighborhood school in suburban Connecticut just as Centerville Elementary School, where my two children attended, is a neighborhood school in suburban Massachusetts.

It could have been any school, USA. I can’t remember a time when I’ve wept more over the course of a week.

I hoped church on Sunday would help. I find comfort in music.And ‘tis the season for Christmas carols.

“Lo, How a  Rose Ere Blooming,” with its rose a metaphor for the birth of Christ, helped: “True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us, And lightens every load.”

It was a moment, but not The Moment.

The altar at Mass on Sunday was lit with 20 candles, one of each of the children, one for each new angel.

My daughter Elizabeth, her husband John, my son David, and other family --  by blood and by marriage -- start arriving today.

During the course of two house parties over the next several days, my wife Jane and I will host upwards of 45 people.

Maybe it won’t be a Moment this year. Maybe it will be a collection of Moments, individual embraces and exchanges of smiles  that show love as a bright light in the dark.

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