This battered Madonna and the star come from the cemetery chapel of the former French Jesuit School in Canterbury, whose pupils helped Saint Thomas’s through some lean years in early days.
When I was writing the history of Saint Thomas’s Catholic Primary School in Canterbury I found in 1970s parish magazines these prayers written by children:
Dear Jesus, please help me to go to Mass at Christmas. Give my family a happy day without any fighting or fussing. – EMc
Dear Lord, please make my Christmas joyful and happy. I will try not to be greedy, but I hope I get enough. – JG.
O Lord, thank you for a happy year. I ask for 100 good new ones. – LE.
Surely LE’s childhood was happy: to ask for a hundred good new years implies that the nine or ten she had lived so far were good. Deo Gratias indeed!
JG’s prayer suggests that he knew his attitude could contribute to a joyful and happy Christmas. Perhaps greed had blighted Christmas or other times past?
Greed will never admit to having enough. Let’s pray for an attitude of gratitude! Christmas gifts should be tokens of love, not awards for being good.
I hope EMcC knew only the sibling squabbling and bossiness that drives parents mad but is not deep-dyed animosity.
He clearly valued being at Christmas Mass. When I was little, Midnight Mass was long anticipated. An army of altar servers somehow managed not to trip up each other or the priest, deacon and subdeacon. The MC had to be creative in allocating duties, so that everyone had something to do: all those torchbearers? Well, we had a place to kneel, out of the way, our hands out of mischief; perhaps those flames added a little to the solemnity?
(When Friends of FISC visited the cemetery chapel this summer, we lit candles as we prayed; they certainly added to the solemnity.)
Let’s pray, finally, for something deeper than solemnity: for awe. Awe at the bundle of cells that has become baby Jesus; awe at who Jesus is, and that his coming tells us how ridiculously the Father has loved us.