(Prayer offered over the Public Address system on Thursday, 5 December 2013)
Let us remember we are in the presence of a loving God,
When I was in kindergarten my family moved from California back to Rhode Island. As far as my 6 year old self was concerned, this was the worst possible thing that could happen. I loved my kindergarten teacher and I had what I assumed would be my life long best friend who conveniently had the same name as me. When we moved, I entered into what at the time seemed like an impossible situation. Rhode Island winter meant indoor recess , the local Brownie troop would not be accepting new members until the following year and worst of all everyone already had established their weekly play dates.
With some heavy guilt I convinced my parents to let me have my birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. I invited my whole class, even Caroline who had delivered to me the first insult I received in my life by calling me a Chatterbox. Reflecting on it now many of my students and fellow teachers would actually agree this is a fairly accurate description of me.
I consumed myself with preparations, selecting the perfect party dress complete with the 90s ruffle collar, picked out some amazing party favors and lectured my younger sister on how to embarrass me the least, which basically meant pretending she was a there with a different birthday party. I imagined the events of the day over and over again in my head before going to sleep at night. Where would everyone sit, who would get the most tickets, would they like my party, and how much would Chuck E Cheese delivering my birthday cake elevate my street cred on the playground.
After what seemed like an eternity, the day finally came. Let me say this was my most memorable birthday in my quarter century on earth. It is repeatedly referenced by my parents and sisters and comes up each year at my birthday. After all of my planning and stressing I was ready to triumphantly enjoy my big day. Unfortunately as I turned 7 I spent the majority of the day passed out asleep on the booth cushion at Chuck E Cheese. I had been so concerned with the party being perfect that the pressure of the day exhausted me to the point that the only part of my party I remember was greeting my guests.
The preparation of an event consuming the actual joy of the event itself seems to be a common trend in the chaos that has become the American Christmas. In our pursuit of the perfect present, the ever trying task of parking at Providence Place, finding the ugliest Christmas sweater, one upping every other Christmas card or bracing for the onslaught of family members, we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
Advent is supposed to be a time of anticipation and hope; but, much like my 6 year old self, we lose sight of what really matters. Rather than being grateful for my parents doing the best to fulfill my every birthday dream and spending the day with my sister who had also experienced the move, I had told her to stay as far away as possible. In case you are wondering, all of my kindergarten troubles were erased at the start of first grade when in a new classroom at the start of the new school year I was no longer the new kid. And Caroline in all her infinite wisdom actually became my best friend; apparently she did not mind my chatterbox ways.
Let us pray,
God grant that we may not lose sight of the true meaning of Advent, that the preparations for Christmas do not overtake our joy and anticipation of the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.
St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.
Meghan Dillon (Social Studies Teacher)