Grinch or Grace? by Maureen Locher

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Maureen Locher photoHow many times have we, as moms, waited for our children? Waiting nine long months, waiting through labor, waiting until our bundles of joy sleep through the night, enduring cries of teething, suffering through potty training. (Oh, I hated that last one!)

Once our children hit school we were placed on the schools’ schedules and later the sports’ schedules. Waiting for athletes to finally emerge from practice…night after night. Remember the bittersweetness of our teenagers learning to drive? Waiting outside schools and other functions was merely replaced by waiting up late at night worrying while our independent (ha ha!) ones were out having fun with their friends. Always waiting.

Now, as Catholics, we are in the official time of waiting: Advent. Saturday night I did something at which I usually procrastinate – I made the Advent wreath. Do my boys care? Quite doubtful at 19-24 years of age, but hopefully, seeing the familiar purple and pink candles surrounding Baby Jesus tugs my sons back a little from their me-oriented lives, realizing Someone is watching over us all “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior.”

Jesus will be coming back. And we are supposed to be living in such a way as to be ready when He comes. We are supposed to be using this time of waiting for something good.

We have four weeks. And I’m not talking shopping days ‘til Christmas. I’m talking four weeks to prepare our hearts – to take whatever we have right now and make it better. It’s pretty simple.

As moms, we must fight what Charlie Brown calls the “commercialism” of Christmas. When my boys were school-aged, the TV was never allowed to be turned on in the mornings before school. This habit began the month before one Christmas. I nearly lost my mind hearing the never-ending toy commercials. Until I realized I could control it with the click of a button. No more TV. Much calmer, quieter mornings. How simple.

It’s horrendous how toy manufacturers seduce young viewers. Moms of youngsters today are assaulted on so many fronts as Christmas approaches. This Advent turn off the TV spending quality Advent time waiting, not for the presents, but creating an atmosphere where the Presence that IS Christmas will be welcomed.

In the coming weeks, as we face the inevitable Christmas tug-of-wars, let’s ask ourselves a question: Is it worth it? Is it worth the money? Is it worth the time involved? Is it worth the effort? Answer honestly and act accordingly.

These next four weeks of waiting could be very good or very bad. For the most part, it’s up to us moms to steer our families in the right direction. We can wait nervously on edge, or we can trust God, assuming the demeanor of one serenely waiting and ready for whatever may happen. We can be the Grinch or we can be Grace Kelly. Personally, I’ve always been partial to crowns!

Copyright 2009 Maureen Locher

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