This has been a long week with great surprises at the end of it. The 21st has come and gone and we’re still here; a Christmas party on he last day of language school; my daughter and son-in-law surprise us with a visit from Portland. All in all, not bad. I still can’t help but think about, even after a week has gone by and the dwindling Sandyhook headlines,  the lonely families in Newtown. I guess those memories will stay for quite a while and at least for this Christmas, put a damper on the joy of the season. They say that time heals all wounds and I suppose it does, but the memories will remain, like the scar that remains after a cut. It will always be there as a reminder of what could have been but cannot. Even though it may sound a little creepy, since that Friday I have been noticing 6 and 7 year olds running, laughing, crying, loving and sometimes just being obstinate in places like the Stanford Mall, Target and even Safeway. I want to remind their parents to hold them close and hug them, but I think they already know that. I think of my own kids at that age and hope they remember they were loved, are still loved, and were encouraged to follow whatever dreams they had, no matter how outrageous or impractical they may have been at the time. Yes this a season for the family, but more so this is the year, the century for the family. Family always trumps perceived success and advancement. I know that now. Would that I could have that time back, but I cannot. I need to enjoy what is in front of me now and I do, in spite of my Irish temperament.

Funfact for today– G.K. Chesterton, the prolific English author, wrote on this date in 1912 about the gift that keeps on giving, himself. As he says “Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic goodwill.” – You can make what you want of this quote, I am looking at it positively as in he is grateful to be alive and enjoys it so much…but he is English…

The reading for today comes from Luke again (Lk 1:46-56)

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

The great “Magnificat” of a pregnant Mary during her visit to an equally pregnant Elizabeth. This is another one of Luke’s private moments with Mary. It is such a beautiful prayer and so full of hope for the present and the future. Mary spends a good three months with her cousin and during that time each is preparing to give birth each is helping out the other. Powerful love, acceptance and like Chesterton reminds us, “fantastic goodwill.” Oh, and by the way, one of the best gestures of fantastic goodwill that anyone can do, and it really is very simple, reach for the remote and turn off Fox News.

and so it goes…