A Christmas Carol

Today, December 21st, is the first day of Winter, the day with the least amount of sunshine.  You have probably noticed the shorter days and the sun setting a little earlier each day as fall progressed.  Technically, today is the darkest day of the year.  Today also marks the two year anniversary of my illness.  Two years ago today I was celebrating at my 17th birthday party.  My friends and family were gathering at my house.  Then without notice I developed symptoms.  That particular evening would prove to be perhaps the darkest night of my life…

Today is also a day where we consider the Christmas season.  Most people approach this season with mixed feelings.  We are eager to embrace the joy of the season and the promise of the Holy Spirit.  We also swallow a bittersweet pill as we remember loved ones who no longer are with us and recognize friends and neighbors struggling with conflict and sorrow.  The season brings highs and lows that gives the psyche quite a workout.

I was recently visited by the ghost of Christmas Past.  She took me back to December 21, 2008.  I am on a stage at the Granada theatre in Santa Barbara.  The theatre is packed with over a thousand people, and I am playing Martha Cratchit in a production of “A Christmas Carol”.  As I start to remember and embrace the experience she whisks me off to 2011 and I’m dancing as a pixie for the Historical Museum Christmas Party. In another memory I am at Church playing cello and in another experience it is the night before I get sick and I’m singing and playing guitar for the firefighters Christmas party. Also embedded in the journey is Christmas morning and I am with my family, opening presents and going on a ski trip.  There is so much joy wrapped up in the experience and memories. The ghost then leaves me to my slumber and I am comforted by these memories.

I awaken the next day and my mom gets me out of bed and bathes me.  She carefully and tenderly gets me into my chair.  My father makes me breakfast and feeds me.  It’s Saturday so around 10:00am my sister wakes up and wants to know if I want to go to the mall.  I’m expecting to nod off at any time and the ghost of Christmas present to visit me, but that does not happen.  Instead, I sit in my chair and experience a fit of consciousness. I cannot move.  I literally cannot do any of the things that brought me joy at Christmas.  But in the living room we have a Christmas tree and decorations.  I think about my dream the night before and all of my performances and trips from past Christmases.  I see the faces of my Mom and Dad, my sister, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and friends too many to count.  So I know I have lost a lot, but I am surrounded by people who love and care for me.  I still have an iphone, Amazon Prime and a credit card so I keep busy at Christmas time!  I now recognize the real meaning of Christmas; spending time with family and friends, giving to those that have less than myself, and being present with Jesus Christ. This is a time to free my ghost.

I also know that tomorrow, December 22, will bring a little more light than it brought today, and the next day even more so.  My prayer for this Christmas Season is that we all see a little more light each day this year and the ghost of Christmas future reveals the true promise of the Season to all of us.

To see my journey over the past two years check out the link below: