Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last week, something happened that made me mad. And I mean furious. My daycare director announced to us that there was a new law that had passed that completely prohibited the celebration of Christmas under any form whatsoever within the daycare. Of course, the law had been present concerning religious aspects of Christmas for a long time, but this new law meant no decorations, no tree, no Santa Claus, no presents, nothing. I was devastated. My first year with my own class and I couldn`t do anything or even talk about Christmas. Every question and comments they would have about it, I would only be able to say that we couldn`t talk about this here and to change the subject. My kids had already been talking about this for the last two weeks and were so anticipating making decorations for our classroom.

I thought maybe the reason for this was because parents of children that weren`t celebrating Christmas had complained, but that was not the case since the only two children in the entire daycare that wouldn`t have were in my classroom (one child is Muslim, and one child is Hindu), and I had taken care to ask if they were both OK with a tree and talk of Christmas, and had left an open invitation to let me know of particular traditions they had in their culture that I would gladly share or incorporate within my activities.

So that is when, I am ashamed to admit, that I had very unkind thoughts about a whole lot of people. Immigrants in particular. The type of immigrants that started the movement to accomodate (Merry Christmas  Happy Holidays, playing soccer with Hijab, wearing a Kirpan to school, etc) and roused up so much hatred, anger, and frustration from everyone around them. I couldnt understand why people would purposely try to shake things up like this, and why a whole lot had to suffer (yes, I do believe that not celebrating Christmas at your daycare when your 4 and spend 11 hours a day there is suffering) for a very few not to be 'offended'. I thought all this in a very unpleasant manner and I was completely filled with anger that felt self-rightous to me. Why should I have to give up something so dear to me and practically everyone around me to stupidity, arrogance, and just plain out rudeness?

Well believe it or not, I stayed angry for the remainder of the day until I went home and listened to a song on youtube. The song is called Mary Did You Know and I had never heard it before, so even though its sound didnt appeal to me, I listened through anyways. The singer is asking Mary if she knew everything that was going to happen to her baby boy, Jesus.

And isn`t it funny, I have been so focused on Jesus as a man, as the Son of God, that I completely forgot the fact that he was Mary`s baby boy. She delivered him and held him as he took his first breath, just a little tiny baby in her arms. I don`t have any children, but I can just barely conceive that instinct within a mother to protect her offspring from every harm and evil the world holds. So to think that this woman knew that her son`s destiny was to literally suffer and die to save the world, I cannot even imagine what she was feeling. How could she endure watching her precious son on the cross? How did she have enough faith and strenght to not give in to temptation to run as far away as possible in order to save her baby? How did she manage to give up the one thing that was most precious to her in the world for the good of others?

How could I raise such a fuss, such an angry, hate and violence filled fuss just for decorations, when this woman made the ultimate sacrifice, standing by as the will of God manifested in the death of her son, of His Son? How torn, hurt, desolate she must have felt to see him there on the Cross. How little she must have cared for the fate of humanity faced with the utmost pain that her son had to endure, that little baby boy she held in her womb and then delivered, and then cared for and loved unconditionally his whole life during... And here I was, filling my mind with hate and hardening my heart against difference and change. Truly I was and am ashamed. This woman who is the Queen of Heaven is an inspiration to my daily life, and I turned my prayers to her that night, imploring her to show me how to be more like her, and asking her to pray for me to the Lord.

The next week, my director announced to us that it had been a misunderstanding on her part, and that there was no problem with celebrating Christmas through decorations, Santa Claus, and presents. Ave Maria indeed.

1 comment:

  1. September 15, 2010: 4 days away from my due date. Standard weekly check with my doctor. Since I was in the neighbourhood of the Oratory (I was at St. Mary's), I waddled over to pray and go to confession, as I was already on mat leave, had some time to spare, and really wanted to go to confession before Mr Baby arrived. As my penance, the priest told me to stay for Mass, soon to start, and meditate on that day's feast: Our Lady of Sorrows.

    I sat there in the pew, pregnant and huge, contemplating Mary beneath the cross as painted by the priest's homily, and I just had this intense block. How is it possible, I thought, that a mother could be okay with that? Because we know that not only was she next to her Son on the cross, but that she fully embraced God's will and plan in all aspects, her whole life long - including the cross - and in a sense willed the crucifixion, insofar as it was God's will. I felt Mr Baby moving within me and was overwhelmed with a sense of inability to move to that stage of holiness, surrender. Before being pregnant, I had admired her courage, her fiat, but I had never comprehended how deeply painful it must have been for her.

    I sat there thinking of her sorrow, her intense grief, and naturally asked myself: Did she see a light at the end of the tunnel? Is that how she got through, is that what made is bearable? My conclusion is that she simply must have - we aren't told that Mary fully understood her Son and His mission, but affirming that she had faith that all would end well is the only way I can make sense of her willingness to give her assent to the Cross. And indeed, Christ did preach during his ministry that He would die and rise again, and Mary had been pondering the things of her Son in her heart from his infancy, so I have no real problem believing that she grasped what He'd been saying.

    All of this to say... Ave maria indeed!