Christmas with Grace


A John Prine Christmas
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Amazing Grace: Songs for Christmas
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He Is Christmas
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Tomorrow morning I will be on the flight back to Milwaukee via Detroit. In the afternoon I will be seeing my cat and getting a lot of stern looks from her for my absence.  I hope that by next Christmas I will be living in a better environment and be able to hire a trainer to help her open a few cans of cat food by herself when she gets hungry.

But this message is about Christmas in Buffalo, a place my friends always associate with snow and bitter cold. As I sit here typing the sky is gray, the winds are calm and there are buds on the trees. Surely, you were all dreaming of a balmy Christmas.

Some years, Christmas has meant the end of relationships and sorrow. Dinners consisted of stone soup flavored with angry silence. Other years, the holiday was filled the hope and the beginning of a new job. This time around, it was filled with grace. There was my nephew John correcting a problem on on his mother’s  computer by writing three sentences about his love for his 2 1/2 year old daughter Grace. As she saw what he had written on the computer screen, she responded “I love you too, Daddy.” This girl may go from day care to high school.

I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of John and seeing the husband and father he has become. He was born the year that I graduated from Lafayette High School and his photos are on my Facebook and other pages. I saw John and his wife Jen facing issues together, I hugged them and Grace as they left and felt so glad we were part of the same family.

I enjoyed having my sister and mother fuss over me because that’s just part of what they do. We all fretted over the trials and tribulations of my nephews, cousins and my younger sister.  My future will be filled with more stories of the other people in my life. I am looking  forward to being the proud uncle, attending graduations and other celebrations. This Christmas has already begun receding into the past.

At our Christmas dinner I declined an invitation to say grace, because I am a secular person and have been so for many years. I find grace in every day life, not by thanking all powerful beings for our lives. This is the day, this is the one, wild and precious life we are given and I take time in word and deed to rejoice and be glad in it.

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