I don't go to church and I'm not a believer in Jesus though my background is Roman Catholic, so Christmas poses a problem for me, not just the enormous commercialization of it, but my personal separation from what exactly Christmas is: a celebration of the birth of Christ. I enter the Christmas season noting Advent, reading the religious passages in the Bible, which I see now are very short, not quite so significant as I had thought them when I was a church-goer. I usually buy one pack of religious cards -- some old part of me needs that, needs to actively mark what exactly the season means. We usually get a few religious cards as well. It only seems right to me. Today I got my first one.
My parents, who live in Goderich, are regular church-goers at St. Peter's Church, an active parish. Late this fall the Sunday School children had their annual fundraiser for the Catholic child sponsorship program, Chalice. This year they sold Christmas cards and my parents bought a packet of them and warned me that I was getting something special made by the kids. When I received my parent's card in the mail today, I laughed and I cried. (Did I mention that I get very sentimental and more than a little labile around this time of year? Well, I do.)
I read the Bible quote: "She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 and took the card to Andy, telling him that it was our first religious card of the season and how glad I was to have it. And I showed him the picture of the children as Mary & Joseph. I was teary-eyed and told him so.
Andy took the card from me and said, "I like the camel best," and pointed out that the card was actually made by the kids in my parent's parish, not just any kids. Now I had noticed Mary, noticed Joseph, both children, and I had noticed there was a camel, but I hadn't noticed quite how motley or human the camel was, how its front hooves were hands and its back hooves were, indeed, red sneakers! I hadn't turned the card over to realize that these were children from St. Peter's parish and the photo was taken on the Lake Huron beach I know so well in Goderich. So I had to laugh and cry again at the sweetness of it all.
And I decided I needed to write this blog, to say bravo to the kids in St. Peter's Parish for the wonderful idea for their lovely card, to tell them it reminded me of the real meaning of Christmas, to wish them well in their child sponsoring fund raising, and to say that if they have any extra cards, I'd buy a pack or two for next year.
You can click on the photo to make it bigger. Do note the camel. He's got my heart for sure.
And here's another of the cards from St. Peter's Church Sunday School, one sent to my sister. Note the real baby who, like many babies, is having a fussy moment, but Mary & Joseph seem to be coping very well.