Now all the Christmas decorations are taken down and put away, everything looks somehow naked, cold, and dark. It is just… winter.
But for those of you who missed it, I want you to have a chance to see what I have come to call The Parishioner Tree, which graced our rectory front office this season. I have always enjoyed receiving the family Christmas cards that you send, especially with photos. Don’t tell, but I even secretly enjoy Christmas family newsletters! Last year, I began hanging the photo cards on the office tree so that they would get a wider audience, and I could enjoy them for a longer time, too.
This year we did the same, and as more people saw the tree, more cards came in and were added. So it was not until right before time to take it down – the (real) Epiphany, in this house – that all the cards were hung by the photocopier with care. So here it is, fully decorated.
The cards were helpful to Father Seith, to learn names and families of people he was just getting to know; and to Father Nick, who was remembering folks whose kids look a lot older than when he lived here. I just like seeing everyone together on one card. Parents, please don’t leave yourselves out of the pictures!
Of course some of the photos were quite funny, either intentionally or just because of the situations depicted. Kids and families have fun doing all sorts of things, and that fun is one of the things folks like to recall at the end of the year. We had pictures of parents “struggling” to keep up with their kids, kids in silly costumes, and babies wearing their birthday cake all over their faces. Great fun. So, thanks for sending and sharing with me! I displayed them with reverence and care, after I laughed and laughed.
Among all those Christmas decorations we all just put away was at least one crèche, or Nativity scene, in every home. It’s a family scene not unlike so many of the photos on the cards. Baby’s first Christmas; Mary and Joseph’s big adventure; look what we got ourselves into. And everybody loves to see the baby.
Isn’t it funny how the one God, living and true, has this in common with us – that He does not mind, in fact delights in, being depicted in the most undignified of situations, for the sake of His love?