It’s Christmas Eve, and I heard this on the radio when I was returning from picking up the last of bits we need for tonight and tomorrow. It made me think of my mother, who loved Christmas.
Our family Christmas traditions, as I’ve mentioned before, are Swedish, so Christmas Eve has always been more meaningful to me than Christmas Day. It’s the night of our family’s traditional Swedish dinner, and it was the night growing up that our church had the children’s pageant, the carols, the service. It’s the night that’s not about things.
My mother was the kindest, smartest, most talented person I ever knew. Also very strong-willed and certain. Our personalities and interests were quite different, so I was something of a trial for her. I was always doing things my way. She eventually learned that I was probably the one thing she couldn’t fix. I was the recipe that turned out all whacked.
But there were good ingredients in there. And at least I always made her laugh. So she came to bear my foibles with a resignation that was entirely unusual for her. I like to think that she came to appreciate individuality and difference. But now that I’m a mother, I think it’s more likely that she adopted the, “Don’t look at me; it’s not my fault” shrug that comes in handy for us all.
I love my mother, and I’ll probably always strive to be worthy of her. She was the best person I ever knew. She passed away after a long and difficult illness days before Christmas two years ago, so she’s especially in my thoughts this time of year. I know she wouldn’t love this version of Silent Night. I guess I’m still doing things my way. But this does remind me of her. I remember the crunch of the snow as we walked home from church in the dark of night on Christmas Eve, in the sharp and bitter cold. I like to think of my mother now sleeping in heavenly peace, in the dawn of redeeming grace.
So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy Hanukkah and a peaceful and happy end of the year with those you love.