When my children were growing up, we celebrated all holidays, my Jewish ones and their and their Dad’s Catholic ones. They knew they were Catholic but also knew their Mother was Jewish. Christmas was a really big deal as it is in most homes with 3 young children. Because my Mother was Jewish she preferred not to visit us on that holiday. The children never cared because they saw her often even though she lived in Virginia and we lived in Georgia.
When my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer many things changed. I always loved her but now it became more like I cherished her. One year as December and Christmas came closer she said she wanted to come and see what it was like at our home. The children were so excited I can’t even put it into words. Their Grandma was coming and she would see the Christmas tree, the stockings, see them open their gifts from Santa and see John, our oldest participate in the manger tableau at the children’s mass at church Christmas Eve. He was going to be a wise man.
Grandma arrived and Christmas eve fast approached. All the discussion revolved around church and the baby Jesus. Would he be in the manger when they got to church? Could they walk down and see him? Would he be a real baby? Finally Grandma could not contain herself any longer. “Baby Jesus, baby Jesus all I hear is baby Jesus”. I laughed until my sides hurt. Mom, it’s Christmas and isn’t that what the holiday is all about…I think I said through tears of joy? She looked at me and started to smile. When we got to church she walked the children down the aisle to see the baby with their hands in hers.
Merry Christmas to all and a belated Happy Chanukah too.