Such a simple message

20 Dec

The church I (irregularly) go to has the most awesome priest.  The first time I ever heard Father Claude speak was the first Christmas mass we attended after moving to Whitehorse; I was so impressed that every time I’ve gone back to church since then has been to attend the French mass.  Father Claude has a way of making everyone feel welcome and drawing them in with his ideas and his warmth.  (If only every Catholic priest were like him, the churches woud be full, I guarantee it.)

I did go to church today and Father Claude was in top form; I’ve spent about an hour telling Michael all about the mass because it was so chock-full of wonderful messages.  The one message I’m trying hardest to cling to, though, was such a simple one.  It’s not a new message, but it just rang true with me today.

Claude asked some kids to come help him light the Advent candles.  As they were doing this, he asked them what had brought them joy this past week.  The little girl told him that she’d had a sleepover at her school.  The boy said they’d been allowed to go to the hill behind his school and go sliding one day.  A nearby mum mentioned that her son had celebrated his birthday this week.

“Do you notice that these are all free things?” Claude mused.  So often we think that it’s the big things, the material things, or “fireworks moments” in our lives that will make us happy.  But it’s the small moments, the little “candle lights” that bring us the biggest joys.

It’s not a new message.  We all know that material things are not what makes us happy, right?  But during the Christmas season, when so many of us worry about the presents we have to buy and wrap and deliver and the parties we have to attend and the cards we have to write (and now everyone seems to compete to have the best photo card, too)… sometimes it’s hard to remember to just simplify

I’ve heard so many people this year say they can’t get into the Christmas spirit, they’re just so stressed out.  So forget about having the house perfectly decorated (or, in my case, just tidy would be nice) and let’s get outside and go sliding!  Let’s read the Christmas story as a family and play with the nativity figures.  Or get together with the next-door neighbour and sing Christmas carols.  In our jeans and a raggedy t-shirt, if that’s how we happen to be dressed.   Let’s forget all the have tos that really aren’t have tos at all, and let’s…  let’s do the simple things that lets us just be joyful.

You know?  It sounded much better the way Claude said it; he never pontificates.  Isn’t it funny, though, how the simplest messages seem to be the hardest ones to hold onto?

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6 Responses to “Such a simple message”

  1. Nai-Nai December 21, 2009 at 1:50 am #

    Yes, he is a very special person.

  2. Jenny December 21, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    I’ll mention this message to my husband. As an excuse as to why I haven’t gotten him anything!

  3. Omichen December 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Fawny, Du sprichst mir aus der Seele. Warum nur machen wir jedes Jahr wieder diesen Trubel mit, obwohl wir uns vornehmen, es nicht mehr zu tun. Ich habe eben eine Weihnachtskarte geschrieben. Auf dem Bild eine Teekanne und eine Tasse, und der Spruch: “In der Ruhe liegt die Kraft.” Guter Vorsatz für das kommende Jahr.
    Love you
    Omichen

  4. Cristina December 22, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    Very, very, very true.

    –person trying to be ruled less by her to-do list 🙂

  5. Opa December 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    AMEN

  6. maleesha December 23, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    so true. And somehow it makes me feel a little better about not sending out cards this year.

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