I always have such a hard time with the Christmas season. I have some sort of “missing” that I feel each year at this time. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for most of my life, I actually became quite sad at Christmas time.
I have traveled to over 88 countries in my lifetime and spent Christmas in several of them. The traditions are rich and the people I have seen in these countries seem to be really happy about the season. Here at home, in the USA, most people seem just as happy too. But as for me… I sort of missed that happiness of Christmas for years. 40+ years actually.
Yes, I know the reason for the season. Advent and the celebration of our Savior’s birth. I get that. But for whatever reason, it always made me sort of sad at the anti-climatic experience that has been Christmas to me for so long. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying, by those in my life, to make me happy. I was just unable to be happy for some reason inside me.
Sure, there is time spent with family; opening of gifts; spending time having a meal together; playing games together; eating all the goodies that my dear mother would cook each year; etc. I understand all that and thoroughly enjoy that part of it. But I still have had a recurring sadness each Christmas. Sadness to the point of tears on some Christmas days.
I am having a very hard time explaining what it is, that has been missing for such a long time in my life. Then like an unexpected uniting with a long lost friend, it finally hit me.
For the past several months, Ranae and I have been attending Mass at a church about 20 miles from our little piece of land that we now call home. We have been blessed with one of the best Priests I have ever encountered.
I mean no disrespect to the other great Priests that have been such an important part of our lives over the years, but this particular Priest has impacted us both in ways I doubt he will ever know the depth of. I don’t like to share details about location or mentioning people by name in my posts, so I will just call him Father L.
Keep in mind, Ranae and I spent several years on what some people would call our own personal quest and mission.
We spent nearly five years living full-time in our fifth-wheel trailer. We spent most of that time volunteering all across the western states and even lived full time at an orphanage serving as missionaries in Guatemala for about 15 months. Only recently did we purchase our little six acres here in Texas and have decided to make it our final stop on this big blue marble called Earth.
I can honestly tell you, that my wife has had her feet grounded properly and knew the reasons we had to do all these things. I, on the other hand, had no idea. I have been looking for something during all these travels. I have been trying to see God in as many different people and places as I could. I had some void I needed to fill. Ranae knew what I needed and supported me in the quest to find whatever it was that I was looking for all these years.
I can easily see God in my beautiful wife. That is easy. What wasn’t easy though, was being content in a single place with a single focus. That focus being glorifying God and living an honorable life that causes people to say “That’s Vern… a good guy and a very devout Catholic Christian.”
I was able to see God in some wonderful places and have the photos to prove it, but it took my wife’s prayers and the no-nonsense type of Priest as Father L to finally make me enjoy being in one location and working towards a bigger plan. My wife was unable to get through to me and prayed for years that God would send someone who could. I believe that man is Father L.
I will save you all the details, but his Homilies are astounding and this past Sunday was one of his best! He was teaching on the parts of the Mass and how the entire celebration of Mass prepares us to receive God’s very body in the Holy Eucharist.
During this Mass, one of the songs we sung was called “Beyond the Moon and Stars” written by Dun Schutte in 1970. This song really touched our hearts. It made it very clear why we are here on Earth and what the purpose of not only this season is, but also, for me, the reason for life…. to seek and glorify God.
Lately my wife and I have been preparing for our funerals and planning for our exit. I guess a lot of people do that at this age? But this song, which we had never heard before, touched my wife so greatly that she sent me the following email the next day…
This is the song, we sang in Mass yesterday. I really liked it…a lot! I want it to be sung at my funeral. It would be really good if Andrea Bocelli could sing it, in person 😉 Love you ! XXOO
I don’t know if I can get Mr. Bocelli to sing it in person (LOL), but I can absolutely promise it will be sung at her funeral Mass! Here is the song, please turn up your speakers and give it a listen. I hope it blesses you this Christmas season. It has certainly blessed us and so accurately describes my wife to a Tee.
One of the best lines in this song is “so great our hunger, Lord, to see your light”. I love that line more than any other because it’s so true!
I am so incredibly thankful and blessed that I can indeed see His light… in my dear sweet wife and in Father L. I thank God for them both daily!