Holiday hookers, happiness and hope.
Love Came Down at Christmas ,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign. —C. Rossetti
Last night as I sat in a pew at Calvary Episcopal Church in Clifton, I randomly opened my hymnal and this is what I read. I could not get the words out of my mind they have lingered with me as I think of all the things that matter most to me and the common theme is love. The love I have for those in my life, the love I have for those who are gone, the love I long to return, and the love I am learning to have for myself. I attend mass with my mom every Christmas eve, it is our tradition and while neither of us talk about it over the years it has become the place we grieve death and celebrate the hope for new life. My mom’s father died on Christmas day, she grieves the loss of her mother as well, and we both have a hard time with the emptiness left with the absence of my Dad. My mom is my rock, she is a source of strength and love that I simply can not put into words. Since I was a kid we have always attended mass, I grew up Episcopalian and still find such comfort and a remarkable stillness in attending, even though I do not go regularly. I love the litany, the voices and the words of the service and what they mean to me.
I remember being about 10 years old and returning from midnight mass at our church in Latonia Kentucky, my Dad driving us home the side streets and avoiding the expressway as it was a snowy night. Our journey led us through Newport Kentucky home of many a strip joint as the ‘Brass Ass” and “Talk of the Town” now I was just old enough to know bits and pieces and also to know that we didn’t talk about it but being beyond excited to get a glimpse of the forbidden areas late at night I was a bit fidgety. On the lookout to see some action, although I didn’t really know what kinda action I was looking for I remained on high alert as we approached. Finally my Dad asked me if I was looking for Santa? I replied without hesitation blurting out “No, I am looking for Hookers!” At first I thought I was in big trouble, but in an instant I could tell it was okay and as my parents tried to hold back their laughter my Dad said “Honey, I think they have the night off” I didn’t really know what a hooker was but I knew it was something I was not supposed to see so of course I wanted a first hand glimpse into what I was missing! The memories I have of my Dad and Christmas are plentiful, I remember the year I got the drum set AND the bionic woman looking jogging outfit, the year he took me on the flood wall sled riding and the year he let me have a taste of his “highball” in the fancy glasses … but just a sip. As I write this I am grateful for the memories I have that forever solidify that the mark he left on me was one of enormous love and kindness. The happiness I get from remembering the love makes the pain bearable.
My hope for all is that we can love one another with an open heart. Building the memories that will last a lifetime providing all the comfort, love and happiness we need to get us through times of hardship and pain. Remembering that it was love that was born on Christmas but that the biggest gift is to share that love all year long.
Merry Christmas everyone!