Christmas on your doorstep and, bam! Something bad happens: mom breaks her shoulder…
When a family member has an accident or is going through health issues and it’s Christmas time, we think that the joy of the season may be in danger of extinction. And even more if it’s mom.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are multiple alternatives to enjoy the holidays together, even when a family member is going through tough times. What’s more, the fact in itself can be a reason to be more creative, an excuse to work harder to achieve a joyful event.
I’ll tell you about an experience one family had: they decided to turn a bump in the road into goodness. Here’s how…
The mom stumbled, fell and broke her shoulder. The doctor ordered immobilization of the arm for 4 whole weeks. It was the beginning of december. Her children and husband stared at each other’s faces, perplexed, when the doctor said this.
All kinds of questions arose: Who will bake the Christmas cake?, who will do all the shopping?, the decorations?, Christmas dinner?
On the other hand, mom thought that the pain would prevent her from making the Advent wreath that she made each year. Even worse, maybe she wouldn’t be able to preside the prayers and festivities of the 4 sundays of Advent she usually hosted at home.
As the days went by, she became a little sad, but one of her children had a brilliant idea. He noticed how everyone kept calling the house asking how mom was doing, and checking on wether the could drop by for a visit. That’s when he started telling everybody that on sunday they could come over for Advent, as they did every year. Mom would be delighted to see everyone and share with everybody. The only thing, he said, is that everyone should bring some snack for tea. And everyone did!
At 6 pm they all started to arrive. There were cakes, sodas, sandwiches, punch… It was a pleasant surprise for everybody, specially for mom. It was the first sunday of Advent and her children encouraged her to lead the prayers with her guests, who made their petitions and were thankful for such a special reunion.
Seeing that their mom was so happy, the children invited some neighbors for the second sunday of Advent. When they arrived, they sang some Christmas carols together and had tons of fun.
On the third sunday, they invited the parish priest who made a special blessing, and on the fourth they exchanged gifts and played some simple games.
Nothing was missing that Christmas, everything was served. There, in that encounter, was God and his generosity in every one of the people that came. The children and the great idea of the one that invited everyone that first sunday, the mother that accepted her condition and allowed the companionship of her family and friends, always thankful for their solidarity…
A Christmas at risk turned into blessings for everybody. A shared Christmas, filled with beautiful new things, in the simple setting of a family home where the most important thing was the humanness and the encounter between each person.
If you want to go deeper into these themes, I recommend these materials:
- Pope Francis’ speech about celebrations and family.
- Meaning of Resilience.
- History and meaning of the Advent wreath.