The Christmas season elicits memories for most of us, well at least it does for me and those memories are usually of Christmas past. This year, in a bit of quiet time, another memory came floating into my prayers. It is the memory of my dark green coat. This was no ordinary coat, it had velvet buttons and a detachable cape that was trimmed with velvet. It was a beautiful coat, the most beautiful coat that I had ever owned for sure, but alas the memory was not really about the coat, it was about the shared time with my mother.
It was an afternoon in October, the weather was just perfect, warm without being hot, the leaves were golden and red on the trees and I had a day off from school. After lunch my mother and I were going shopping. For once my mother did not seem to be in a rush. Shopping with my mother was usually less then pleasant as her agenda always seemed to be to get in and out of the stores as quickly as possible. There was no lingering to look at things or to daydream, for her it was a chore that had to be done and nothing more.
This particular afternoon held something different than business as usual. The beauty of the day had somehow managed to capture her and the afternoon was more about walking and talking than getting in and out of the stores quickly. Our mission was to purchase a new winter coat for me. We walked first to Macy’s to look for the coat, but we could not agree on one. We left Macy’s and crossed over to Horn and Hardart’s for a small delicious snack, another thing that usually did not happen on my shopping trips with my mom. As we ate I noticed that my mom had a bit of twinkle in her eyes as we enjoyed our snack and I wondered what that might be all about. I was soon to find out. We headed back across the street and around the corner to a children’s store called Cornell’s. It was not a shop that we often went to as it was a bit more expensive then Macy’s but my mom knew what she wanted for my winter coat and she thought just maybe, Cornell’s was the place to find it and it was. I remember trying on the coat and feeling like I was a princess. Fortunately, my mother also liked the coat or else I might still be in the store having a bit of a tantrum over this most wanted possession.
As I remember the afternoon, I remember being filled with the sense of God’s grace. I glimpsed the child within my mother, her joy, her laughter, her being connected with my being and the two of us together sharing in each other. The memory is not about the coat, but about two women, one fairly small and the other somewhat older meeting each other as Mary and Elizabeth met, as friends each holding the other.
May God raise up in you holy memories as we approach this New Year and await the mystery of what will come to unfold, knowing we are rooted in Grace.