Silent night…Holy night….and then the cat started in.

Merry Christmas Aftermath my friends!

I hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends and fun…lots of fun.    Because now its the day after Christmas and the aftermath must be faced…will you leave the tree up until New Years or maybe Valentines?  All depends on your family traditions and grasp on the finer points of procrastination….LOL!     Will you join the shopping crazies in search of more and better deals….either for themselves or to get a jump on next years Christmas…yup I used to be one of those.  No sooner were the gifts unwrapped than I started planning for next year!  Crazy huh?    Are there dishes waiting for you?   Ornaments to clean up?    Wrapping paper to decide…add to the stash for crafting or toss or “shudder” burn (really bad for you, your chimney flue and the environment unless it’s all Stampin’ Up brown wrapping paper).   As I said the Aftermath….hmm…almost sounds like a nuclear attack doesn’t it?   If you have kids chances are there are degrees of similarity.

In case you’re wondering where cats enter into this…let me just say…while its possible that animals really do bow down and worship…I know that they definitely talk on Christmas Eve.   I haven’t heard any English mind you but what a cat can’t express with words they make up for in sounds, tail swishes and most of all yowls…especially of the Niaow…variety that sounds suspiciously like NOW, NOW, NOW!!  😀

I’m grinning now as I type this but let me tell you Christmas Eve at my house was anything but silent!  Not too sure about holy either as my nerves frayed and my language…well…it slipped…lets leave it at that.    Sigh…something else to remember next time I go to confession!  I wonder if I can take Wicket with me so the priest will understand the provocation.  

Little Miss decided she wanted something….Santa  or God and the angels alone only know what.    A quiet evening of listening to carols, surfing the net, chatting with friends on the phone with pauses for petting the cat became….Mommy….I want something…..every few minutes Miss Wicket would announce her presence with yowls of longing and emphatic posturing…nope not the call of nature…nope…not wanting toys and playtime….nope petting didn’t help…couldn’t actually get near her without twisting like a pretzel (those of you with cats and chairs will know what I mean by this)…getting up from said chair ready to obey whatever game was in progress only resulted in a cat diving under the bed.   Pause for me to sit down and the game would begin again….followed by another dive under the bed.   Predictably Momma soon lost it and added to the lack of silence and holiness.   Never did figure out what it was all about though Wicket did eventually get a time out outside in the wider world….which as it turns out…led to more Cats starting in…this time the neighbors…………

Also on the subject of Aftermath…

This year there were missing faces at our families Christmas tables that reflected this year as a year of loss in many ways.  Apart from the separations that come the way of many families, the face missing most was that of my Mother in law who died last January.  She was responsible for so many years in making our family Christmas and in keeping us all in touch with one another as we are now more scattered than ever before.   At my own hearth the missing face (besides my extended family who are mostly in California these days)  was my beloved Sandycat of the mechanical paw and loving heart.  Her ability to share love while maintaining her wild nature was amazing.  Add to that a torn rotator cuff and a small stroke of mine and as I said aftermath seems to have been a theme.   On the other hand the year has had its flashes of joy, periods of inspiration and creativity and additions to my kitchen table and cyber table of friends and fellow crafting comrades from here and  my various online communities.    Friendships that began over blog post comments more than a year ago have blossomed into phone calls, shared packages and letters and plans to meet at SU convention or on vacations that cross paths so we can get to know each other even more.    Grown into lots more hours on the computer too but that is yet again an aftermath…and one I’m happy to live with…though I’m betting it’s going to lead to even more Wicket fits that lead to fewer silent nights…and so the cycle will probably continue.    Loss, pain, joy, growth as the circle continues.    Check back next year to see if Silent and Holy made it back on the agenda…okay?

All of this brought to mind a quote about grace and holiness and growth from a favorite mystery book that I came across as I was hunting through my archives on my drive for something else.   Also put me in mind of a Christmas miracle from the past I shared on a friends blog last year that also, as so much of my life does, involved a cat.

See what you think….

On the subject of Grace:

No one is ever far from grace.  What we’re too often far from is willingness to open our self to grace.  From willingness to let grace come to us.  We keep our minds between it and our hearts.

As for our becoming holy…… I don’t think we have to become “holy” to succeed in our life here.  I’m not even certain what “holy” would be for us.  Dame Johane in response – “Dame Thomasine…” Dame Frevisse responds – Yes , but it seems more a gift given to her than something she became.  I haven’t been given it.  I know that.  My hope isn’t for holiness, only that I grow enough–can set my roots of faith and belief and love deep enough–that like a deep rooted plant growing taller than a shallow rooted one, I finally come as near God in my mind and soul and heart as I can, no matter how much in the world my body has to be. 

Dame Frevisse speaking to Dame Johane in Margaret Frazer’s “The Apostate’s Tale” pg 124-125  A medieval mystery tale in a Nun’s Convent at the time of Chaucer.

*****

My Christmas Miracle shared with Elaine

The first of many…I live my life by miracles or so it often seems.  Some large and indisputably Miraculous… when your husband is dying and you live in a small town wouldn’t you love to end up at the one hospital where the surgeon on duty just returned from a conference with the worlds leading specialists on that specific problem and can make a few phone calls that end up saving your DH’s life!  Add to that all the right techs being in the hospital on a weekend so all tests can be completed in 45 minutes or less (talk about a Golden Hour)!  And that’s the basic story of a big one.  Then again, some days finding a parking spot right in front of where you are going counts as a miracle in my book.

But…you asked for a Christmas Miracle…and those should be special and mysterious and perfect just like the first Christmas itself!

On the first Christmas Eve after my husband Steve and I were married in 1981… we were sad that our Abigail (Abbycat) cat had disappeared and not returned home for quite some time so no little kitty paws to go pitty pat through the house, looking for that stirring creature – a mouse.  Still, we looked forward to Midnight Mass and leading our parish community in worship and song (gotta love that hour of Carols in a darkened Church), so we tuned our guitars and crossed the street (yes we were lucky enough to rent a cottage across the street from our parish – another of those miracles – lol)…and sang out our Christmas Joy at Christ’s birth with our brothers and sisters. 

Halfway through the service I glanced out the open Church door and saw a sweet little cat swaying to the music but looking just a bit unsure of a welcome. She followed the whole service from that doorway hiding only when people started to leave.  As we left the Church, I stopped to pet the sweet little thing (who had popped out of hiding thinking everyone had gone) and wished her a Merry Christmas.  As we started for home, we heard the patter of little paws following us from a distance.  And, every time we stopped to listen the paws stopped too!  Once home, we discovered that we had a friend…so thinking perhaps she was a stray looking for room at the Inn we welcomed her with food and a bed (though she had to be coaxed and convinced it was safe).  So once again, God provided not only our needs but our wants as well and we had a Christmas kitty for life! 

As we found out later she needed us just as much as we needed her…She’d been abandoned on the steps of the rectory some time earlier and crept out to eat leavings from the Scout’s at the Church’s Christmas tree lot until the lot was struck Christmas Eve – with no home left God provided her need and our want.

We also found out later that she had suffered neurological damage (a bit like mine) from early trauma so had a few funny quirks (she couldn’t climb or walk a straight line for years).  She was ever after a Church cat.  We were the unofficial sextons for the Church and would lock up after every event and make sure that all was in order.  We always made that part of an evening walk before bed and our little cat, Juano, followed us everywhere as if she was a dog, even if we went for a mile or more around the block!  She loved to escape into the Church and play hide and seek in the pews kneelers.  We would come back from turning off the lights and find her gazing and swaying (praying?) in the candle light before the side altar or, sitting up straight and tall in the Presider’s chair for all the world as if she was about to begin a prayer service! She also spent every afternoon at the Church’s School during recess and in the library after school until closing.  So many lovely memories and even more miracles but that’s a story for another time.

God loves us enough to give us not only what we need but often what we want –  wrapped up with all the trimmings if we only take the time to look for the miracle.

Whether it’s for years or just for a minute…

May you always have, paw prints on your heart and soul (After all little one’s adore Him too!), and miracles every day of your life!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night – Jean

                             *****

Aftermath has so many meanings and consequences doesn’t it?
 Ah well maybe next year Silent Night will return to its traditional meaning and have a chance to become Holy! 

Do you think there were cats in Bethlehem on that first Christmas?  At least the Shepherds only had to deal with sheep and angels….just saying…….

One last thing I wanted to share that I came across in my surfing…a modern day’s take on that first Christmas if social networking had meant then what it does now.   Enjoy!

May your Sunday be blessed and your aftermath one of joy and growth with a little silence and holiness thrown in.

Hugs and blessings – Jean

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One Response

  1. Thank you Jean, for your thoughts and stories and for the wonderful video. You enrich my life in so many ways. Blessings to you and your Wicket!

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