I went to church by myself, because Franco is too much of a toddler to sit still and besides it was his bedtime. Dean watched him while I googled the closest Catholic church in Scottsdale, arriving 15 minutes before the 8pm Christmas Eve mass at St. Bernadette.
As I passed the church, I felt a surge of disappointment. It was one big construction zone. The parking lot only had a handful of cars. Then I saw a couple walking briskly in the cold, along a pathway. I parked quickly and hurried to follow them. They made their way into a brightly-lit community hall. An usher greeted me.
I murmured my relief, “I’m from out of town and drove 15 minutes to get here. It looks like your church is being renovated. I’m so glad you’re having mass. I thought I was going to have to turn back around.”
She explained that the parish had only ever had services in the community hall, but that they were now building a proper church.
I went inside to find ample seating. A very small choir and piano player had gotten started singing all the standard Christmas carols. I love to sing; it’s a hidden talent of mine. I sat there by myself and simply belted away. Genuinely happy singing my heart out.
The homily was short, but powerful: Who is God? He is both the creator and the sustainer. God is like energy. We cannot see it, but if it didn’t exist, then our world would not be here.
God created us to have a body and a soul. Without a soul, our body would cease to exist.
By asking who is God and in trying to understand who is God, we only need to look at ourselves since he created us in his image and gave us divinity. His will was not for our bodies to decay, but to have eternal life.
During that mass, I felt like I had wandered upon a quiet little manger. No pomp and circumstance.
Can you imagine? Going to a Christmas mass and not having to get there an hour early?
In that mass, I experienced more spirit, more Christmas, and more of God than I had in forty years of attending Christmas mass or picking out a tree or opening up presents.
The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas ballad about a poor boy who has nothing to give but his gift of music. I think most people would name it as one of their top Christmas songs. I don’t know if it’s because I am aging or simply a phase in my life right now, but this Christmas and this year overall were about distilling life into its essence. I have worn the same outfit of t-shirt and leggings almost every day. This year has been about my love as a mother for my child. Like the drummer boy, I am still honing my craft, but 2016 will be about practice and reverence and sharing my gifts with others.
2015 was a tough year for me, trying to find work-life balance and alone time, but I am closing it out with love and hope. I am excited to share that I will be starting a new series of Self Help posts in 2016 where I will be trying new things and analyzing the benefits (meditation, nutrition, floatation). It’s going to be fun and rewarding!
See you in the New Year. So much love,