Once Upon An Advent Season
As I was looking a very important piece of paper, I came across these two reflections. They are meditations of youthful Christmas experiences in Miami, specifically, Little Havana. It was a bittersweet return to a time and place long past and still rather hard to return to in my mind due to death of my mother a few years ago.
I pray that as you read this vignette, God will move you in a special way. I couldn't but help remember my mother's zeal for life, her tenderness and unconditionally love for all. If anyone at all possessed the knowledge to keep Christmas well, as Dickens tells us, Scrooge did. So did my mother. She found a little Christmas in every moment and in every encounter with all who knew her...
Many years ago, the shopping strip was humbly decorated. There was a crisp chill in the air. My mother, grandmother, sister and I walked toward that familiar sign inviting all children to line up and visit with him.
As I walked to the line, my mind was filled with wonder and anticipation. I moved closer and closer to him. He was a big man, dressed in red, wearing a wonderful and magical smile. He spoke Spanish. I was thrilled. Only a few kids were standing in front of me waiting to get a chance to speak to him, sit on his lap and quickly ramble off what they wanted to get.
As my turn approached, I felt his arms extend toward me. He picked me up and held me. As I sat on his lap, he noticed my legs. They wore braces made of aluminum. I had to wear them for many months, two whole years to be exact. He held me…a tear sprang up. He asked my mother what was wrong. She told him, he smiled and looked at me with a great sense of relief. He closed his eyes and laid his warm, wrinkled and saintly hands on my legs. He looked up and closed his eyes. Then he prayed. The gift of his prayer was sweeter than any candy cane I had ever tasted.
May God bless each of you this Epiphanytide.
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