Thursday, December 23, 2004

And it came to pass...

Published December 23, 2004

And it came to pass…

That in those days a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. (I was pressed for time, I barely got my lists made, house cleaned and tree decorated by Christmas Eve. All of us worked so hard and Christmas was almost here. Would we run out of time? 22 people for a formal sit down dinner. Did I make sure the kids were prepared in their hearts for Christmas)?

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David- to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. (JD has worked so hard to make this Christmas extra special for us. He works two jobs, helps out around the house whenever I need it and seems to know what I need before I think of it. He makes many sacrifices for us. I need to remember to tell him how much I appreciate him as a husband and father).

And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. (Shannon and I made every single one of our choir practices and her physical therapy appointments. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot wrapped under the tree, but the kids don’t seem to mind. They want everything to be nicely decorated and haven’t asked for much this year. I am so tired. I wonder if Joseph and Mary were exhausted. I can believe it).

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the Inn. (Birdy always wants to hold back the Infant Jesus statue from our yard creche’ until Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass. She wraps Him in her baby blanket and brings Him to Mass. Oh to be young again and full of expectation. It brings back memories of my own childhood and the drive home from church, looking up at the sky which seemed quite different only on this one special and holy night).

And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be all the people: For this day, is born to you a Savior who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

(Why do I cry at this Mass every year. I sing in the choir. Every piece we sing seems to touch my soul in places I forgot about all year long. I remember those dear to me who have passed away, I remember those who are suffering. I remember Grandpa Chet so sick on Christmas Day when I was 9 that he went to the hospital and never returned back to our house. I remember the Santa years, the carols and visiting nursing homes when I was younger. I think of Mom’s cooking, Dad’s fudge and the Ray Coniff Christmas Album my parents played over and over on their turn table.

I remember being engaged at Christmas time and staring at the ring JD paid a month’s salary to buy for me. I think of waiting for Conor and Birdy to be born in the month of December and how much joy they bring to us this time of the year as we celebrate their birthdays. I remember Shannon’s first Christmas 13 years ago, her rosy red cheeks and awe at seeing Christmas lights for the first time. The Gift of Christmas makes it all worthwhile, the joys and the sorrows. That’s why I cry every year. Plus older people cry a lot.

And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

On behalf of my family, I wish you all joy and peace in the coming New Year.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at

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