(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday morning, 18 December 2014)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God…
Many children lay awake on Christmas Eve, anticipating the arrival of Santa. They hope to catch a glimpse of a childhood icon in his typical role. I too would lay awake on the Christmas Eves of my childhood, but my reasons were not that of a spy. Rather I lay awake in fear. I was scared that I would see Santa, and consequently ruin Christmas…
I was six years old. It was probably 2 am or so on Christmas. I closed the cover of my Great Illustrated Classic version of Oliver Twist and clicked off my flashlight before I came out from under my covers. I knew I had to be careful not to let any light escape from the room. The consequences could be dire, I told myself. I didn’t really even want to leave my room, but I had already waited for over an hour and I was desperate for a drink of water. I carefully swung my legs over the side of my top bunk and slid down to the floor, worried that any noise would wake my sleeping brother, Patrick, or disturb any spirit beyond my bedroom door. I tiptoed carefully across the dark bedroom. I reached out and grabbed the cold glass door knob. I inhaled deeply but silently and shut my eyes so tight that I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I turned the knob slowly and opened the door just wide enough for me to slip through. With my eyes still clenched, I exited my room and immediately turned my body to face the wall so as to have my back to the rest of the house. I slid down the hallway in my footed pajamas, using my hands on the wall to guide myself as I went, until I arrived at the bathroom. I scurried onto the tile floor and quietly shut the door behind me. I opened my eyes, but resolved to leave the light off. The moon illuminated enough of the space for me to fill a cup with water. I drank it quickly, crumpled the paper cup and placed it in the waste basket so as not to make a sound. I returned to my room in the same manner as before. On my way back to my top bunk, I grabbed the next book in the pile – Little Women – I scurried up to bed and burrowed under the covers.
Christmas Eve went like this for much of my childhood. And, while it enabled me to get a jump start on great literature, it made Christmas Eve a night of great fear and stress rather than one of joyful anticipation. I would leave the bedroom the next morning lacking much of the energy and enthusiasm of my brothers. Christmas morning held more of a sense of relief than excitement. In retrospect, I see the larger implication in life. If we live in fear, then we do not live the life we are meant to live. How many times do we allow fear to hinder us from the joys of life? How often do we allow fear of failure to keep us from some accomplishment? It is not easy to relinquish our fears, especially in our society. But we must do our best to enjoy the “Santas” in our life and not allow that which can bring us happiness to paralyze us.
Let us pray. During the final days of this Advent, let us live with a joyful anticipation rather than with stress, anxiety, and fear. In the words of the angel on the first Christmas “Do not be afraid, I bring you tidings of great joy.”
So do not be afraid to let light be seen coming from your direction. Do not be afraid to open your door to the rest of the world. Turn on the light. Open the door. Walk with resolve into the open. Do not be afraid, La Salle; through the promise of Christmas great things await us.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle …pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts….forever.
Emily Smith–English Department