“Peter, what’s wrong?” It wasn’t a usual question from his work colleague but somehow he didn’t mind that.
“I was just speaking with my mother on the phone. I told her I’d not be home for Christmas”. “Was she disappointed?” “She didn’t say as much but I know she is. She has been lonely since my father died – it’s three years now. She puts on a brave face but I know her heart is broken. I hated making that call. I know she thought I’d be home – hoped I suppose, but the boss here doesn’t fully “get Christmas” and sees it as another working day. Sure you know that as well as I.
The strange thing is I love Christmas. The even stranger thing, though my mother doesn’t know this, is that I love it for what it is – God’s greatest gift to the world. The gift of an infant who can bring such joy if only we’d let him. I love all its memories. I can still smell the pines of the Christmas trees my father got “somewhere” – we never asked or needed to ask! God how hard they worked to make Christmas for us. The dinners my mother cooked. The excitement of opening the “dare to hope for” gifts from Santa. I often wonder did I say thanks…
I remember once telling my mother that I was “Spiritual but not religious”. It sounded so clever at the time though, to be honest I still don’t know what it means. I’m fairly sure I read it somewhere. I seldom miss Mass, I never go to bed without even a short prayer and my grandfather’s Rosary Beads is always in my pocket – look!
God, I wish she knew that for sure – my mother – that she gave me, us all, a real sense of Faith. Somehow it seems unfair that she mightn’t know that. I’d hate to think that Christmas might now be less for her than she made it for me.
Maybe I’ll talk again to the boss. Certainly I’m going to talk to her about this and, as for the card I’d written, that’s for the bin! For once and for all, I’m going to tell her, more than that, thank her for Christmas Joy and bring it to life again for her – one way or another.
Thanks for asking me, just now, “Peter, what’s wrong?”.
It’s nothing – nothing that can’t be put right!
(From “Let Advent be Advent” by Vincent Sherlock)