As most know, I was raised by my grandmother whom I called Nanny. She was a devout Catholic; born into the religion just as I. While preparing for work, I witnessed my nanny doing the rosary on rosary beads blessed by Pope John Paul II; saying the serenity prayer as well as the Apostles Creed.
As I grew up in a Catholic School, most of Nanny’s behaviors within,her faith trickled down to me: I have a rosasry blessed by Pope John Paul, I memorized the Apostles Creed and said a nightly prayer, with the presence of my Nanny.
Christmas time and the spirit of Christmas was different in our home. On top of attending mass three times a week, we participated in confession during Lent (the period of time right before Easter when we prepare for Jesus’ crucifixion and later, Jesus rising from the dead) as well as preparing for Jesus’ birth during Christmas time.
The holiday was not meant for believeing I was going to be showered with gifts, it meant celebrating our Lords birth; singing Away In A Manger and understanding the meaning in it’s fullest capacicty.
Of course Santa came to my home and I devised a Christmas list with the latest and greatest things a young girl may desire: a cordless phone, beanie babies, Holiday Barbie and nailpolish! However,Chrsistmas meant so much more.
My Chrismas Meant: Caroling and creating Christmas goody-bags that included necessities for men and women in the local homeless shelters,Mid-Night Mass on Christmas that was conducted in candle light, helping with the giving tree for all church members in need,hearing the story of Mary,Joseph and baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, the Three Kings, The Wise Men and all the gifts bestowed on King Baby Jesus. It meant understanding and honoring the Nativity Scene and wishing to be part of that gloroius night.
As every American girl, Christmas still meant getting presents; spending time with family, a much needed break from school, driving around Long View Lake to view the beautiful Christmas lights and the newest holiday Teddy Bear depicting the year on a paw and wearing a cute sweater. Yet, I never forgot the beautiful and true meaning,of Christmas as I believed.
I believed in being good every year so Santa would come visit and I believed that on this day, every year; that our Saviour was born.
To this day and with the passing of my Nanny, I still believe,yet have not participated in all the unselfish givings of the holiday. I,have managed to explain to my son the true meaning of Christmas. Yet, his beliefs and the way he has celebrated Christmas in his young years are not a reflection of mine.
Nonetheless, I admire viewing Natvity Scenes and looking at Christmas lights as I have been able to explain the meaning as it meets the eye. Somewhere, my childhood memories are still there, still real and are reflected in conversations with my son.
I know I will never be the woman my Nanny was yet as long as my son understands the meaning of a beautiful Nativity Scene,and the meaning of Christmas, I know I have accomplished what Nanny accomplished with me.
What are your top childhood memories regarding Christmas?! Please share!