when i was an undergraduate (a million years ago), i remember the frenzy that accompanied the end of each fall quarter. dead week, final exams, final papers. then catching a ride from the bay back home to the central valley with a friend. and i would be stunned to find that christmas had already arrived there. the neighborhood houses donned twinkling lights. at mass, they would be lighting the final candle on the advent wreath. and i would always feel a pang of sadness that i had missed most of the season.
as a young girl, i attended a catholic elementary school. christmas was never lost on me then. there were the hand made ornaments we completed in art class. there were the christmas carols we would sing at mass in the weeks before christmas, sometimes caroling at a retirement home or in a neighborhood. the christmas pageants when i would dress as an angel or a shepherd (as i got older) for midnight mass. and, of course, the gifts and family gatherings on christmas day. :)
the newness of this christmas, my first as a married woman, is exciting. joseph and i bought a tree last week, something i had never done before! i almost had an anxiety attack when i saw all of the ornamental possibilities for a tree, but i was able to buy a couple of boxes of basic ornaments. we have a beautiful (if simple) christmas tree in the living room of our home and stockings with out names on them. we're celebrating advent in a church that we love, and now christmas is almost upon us.
i'm 34 years old this year, and i still vividly remember christmases from when i was a child and young(er) adult. it already feels like a lifetime of memories, and yet i know that joseph and i still have a lifetime ahead of us. the thought is sometimes overwhelming. how does a person hold all of these moments in her memory, in her heart? i suppose that, too, is a miracle of the season.