Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. If you have been reading Pope Francis, you will know how often he speaks about family and the importance of nurturing family life. I think that the Christmas season is a special time for families. Children return home full of many happy memories when they gathered to sing carols or just be together around the crib and Christmas tree.
My favorite Christmas was that of 1941. I was ten years old and our best Christmas gift that year was a new baby. I had longed for a brother and then he came on Christmas morning. I will never forget my Dad telling us, after he had turned on the Christmas tree lights, that our best gift was not under the tree but our mother was with our new baby brother. Afterwards, we went to Mass and then picked up the wonderful woman who came each Christmas to cook our turkey dinner. Hattie now worked for a doctor's family but always went to my great Aunt's to clean on her day off and then to us for Christmas. Hattie was a great part of our Christmas; as soon as I had helped her make the dressing to stuff the turkey and we had it in the oven, she would come into our living room and we could show her our presents. That Christmas, she said I was the "lady of the house now and what time did I want her to serve dinner?" I have not forgotten that as it made me feel grown up. My Dad, without sleep, went back to the hospital to be with my mother, and I was the one he asked to call all our relatives with the good news. I suspect that this was the best Christmas ever for me and I do not remember any of the presents under the tree that year! My brother George just was the gift to surpass all gifts!