“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat.” So goes the old English Christmas folk song. This time of year, we get together as a family to celebrate the birth of Christ. We also attend the Christmas concert at the school where our third grader, nursery school student and soon-to-be teenager present music and poetry while being shepherded around by their saintly teachers.
We will be swilling eggnog, and steaming up the kitchen with traditional foods, then attending midnight mass. Meanwhile, some families will be celebrating the Miracle of the Light with menorahs, while others celebrate the Yule, the last of the short days and the coming of longer days again, with the coming of the light. Still others may be far away from loved ones, maybe even alone, separated from their loving families, perhaps sitting in heavy battle dress on a bare rock in far-flung mountains, looking up at stars, realizing their life might be worth no more than a fly in the kitchen. Some might be alone even in the crowd, separated by the demons in their own minds or out of a bottle. Even more may be hungry, cold and sick.
For all those, we pray for the Coming of the Light, and for all the miracles that we can muster to make their lives better. The part of the season that relates to giving is more than presents.
It may be more about presence. Being there for someone.