Posted by: dinainsuburbia | December 22, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Today was the last Sunday before Christmas.  It’s busy out there; last minute shoppers running around for gifts, family-chefs combing the supermarket for their Christmas feast ingredients.  It’s an easy day to lose sight of what Christmas is and why we celebrate it.  It’s also an easy day to blow off Church.  After all, there is SO MUCH TO GET DONE!  Right?

But, I went to church today.  I know a lot of you who know me are surprised that I now go to church.  It’s an amazing spiritual journey that started a very long time ago.  I guess I’ve always had a push/pull to church.  Feeling drawn to it, but always slightly “afraid” (for lack of a better word).  

Working in NYC and going to college and graduate school,  going to church was something old people did… or weird people did.  People like “us” didn’t go to church (young, mildly successful – or at least ambitious).  And we were busy- we had happy hours, and networking events, and dates to go on, and finally, marriages to plan…. and we could speak to God where ever we wanted anyway… so why HAVE to set that hour aside?  There was a million excuses and well thought out rebuttals for why church wasn’t necessary.

Then a change started to happen… the first major event was the birth of Madeline.  A life-altering event that brought me closer to God.  I’m not sure I can even put into words how this happened, but it was like a gravitational pull.  First it started off slowly… maybe catching Joel Osteen on television.  Then I had Madeline baptized.  And then, it was almost Ash Wednesday.

I was pulled to attend mass on Ash Wednesday- and *almost* every Sunday and Holy Day there after (hey- no one is perfect).  Attending Sunday mass quickly and easily became a part of my weekend routine.  Instead of looking at my watch and counting the minutes, I was listening to the prayers, the the order of mass, to the readings, to the priest’s homily.  I began to feel at peace and loved… and for that hour I was even able to love other people- strangers- too (even though this neighborly love oftentimes ceased the minute I was pulling out of the church parking lot and confronted with idiot drivers).  

Becoming Catholic again was like coming home- a home I really only knew as a young child (I stopped attending religious instruction when I was in 4th grade and was never confirmed).  Where you are always welcomed and, most of all, always loved.

 I guess I’m putting this out there for all of those that feel it has been too long since you’ve left the church (what ever your church may be).  That it would be weird to go back.  That others would judge you… make you feel uncomfortable.  Please go.  It isn’t the case.. at least it wasn’t for me.  

Christmas time is a time of new births.  Of new beginnings.  Of surprises.  Maybe this year Christmas will bring you faith and peace in a time when there is endless news stories of financial ruin, of crookedness, of  heartbreak, and of debt.

Instead of giving presents to others, give a present to yourself… go to Church.  Sit in prayer.  Find peace.

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