By Sister Loretta Cornell, President, MHSH
When we came downstairs on Christmas morning to all the presents under the tree—and I do mean ALL the presents because there were 11 of us—we sang Happy Birthday to the baby Jesus. After that we each looked for our special pile of presents, which would consist of things we needed such as socks and clothing as well as a toy, a game and a sock filed with nuts, hard Christmas candy, a tangerine and an apple.
After the presents were opened, Mom and Dad would go to Mass together. Sometimes, those of us who hadn’t gone to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve would go with our parents.
When they came home it was time to play the games. My Dad played the games with us and my Mom went to the kitchen to cook. We had the best fun, laughing and carrying on with Dad, who usually won the games, but it didn’t matter. We had fun and enjoyed one another. In the early afternoon, we would gather and have our Christmas dinner, which always began with grace and thanking Jesus for being born into our lives.
Our Christmas was equal parts joy in the birth of Jesus, warmth in being together as a family and the sheer fun of playing with new games and toys. Those Christmases have blessed me with loving and smiling memories. And they have sustained me through Christmas days that were less merry—times when there was loss and sadness and missing people long gone.
But still, after all these years, today my thoughts of Christmas are still smiles and laughter and a profound thankfulness for the gift of the infant Jesus and the love that shines through family and friends and memories.
I hope this remembrance of my early Christmas days brings a smile to your face and heart. And I hope that you, too, have cherished memories that light up this holy time. May Jesus always be the center of your life and your Christmas.