- Godwin Cotter
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
The page above is from a comic book published some years ago called The Christmas Present. Speaking of Christmas, it seems to be a "thin" time. Miracles are happening all around us, only we don't always notice them. I remember in 2013, Justin Bieber announced his "official retirement". My niece posted on Facebook, "It's a Christmas miracle!" I guess peoples' perceptions differ. Be that as it may, I do think there are these miracles happening now.
Two weeks ago the priest announced that the parish was beginning a Christmas Novena of Dawn Masses, a practice the seems to have originated in the Philippines. Starting Friday, December 16th and continuing till Saturday, December 24th, there would be a 6:00 AM mass followed by a breakfast in the Church basement. For my family, this would involve a 5:00 AM wake up, which is how the miracles started to happen.
Firstly, the teenagers decided they wanted to come. A small miracle to be sure, but it continued when the teenagers actually rose out of bed, not every day but most. Then the car started in -20 F or -30 C. The engine hadn't frozen up! God is good. Our car resembles a trash-can on wheels, but it served us as well as the donkey served Our Lady. One of the things that had the most Christmas magic though was the breakfasts. Tables were loaded with hearty homemade cuisine, largely Filipino and all of it phenomenal. If you idled too long in your chair, parishioners would come and enforce the immediate consumption of breakfast. I am not shy when it comes to food, but but my honest protests of having my plate too full for my stomach were ignored. Sure, these incidents weren't Super-Nova or Star-of-Bethlehem spectacular, they were more like a late at night meteor shower, but I genuinely felt God's gifts this week. The inner sceptic in me was silenced.
Novena mass attendance was pretty solid, as much as a Sunday mass; they had altar boys in the double digits too. On day number 7, the teenager decided to ask the priest for confession after mass. Later, the teenager claimed that the priest nodded off after said teenager had confessed his first sin. The priest, remember, had been waking up at 4:30 AM for a week. He hadn't had a morning coffee yet. After the teenager had listed off his sins, the priest, summoning up the last of his waking energy, shook himself and gave the teenager absolution. I had contemplated going to confession also but had dawdled too long. To think I could have dispensed with my "Christmas list" as easily. I suppose not everyone gets the same Christmas miracle.
The concept of a novena is to petition a favor from God for nine days running. The disciples were praying for nine days in between the ascension of Jesus into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. With novenas though, you're always a little nervous that God won't give you what you prayed for.... you might just get something like "peace on earth and good will to men," when you were really asking to win the lottery. Sometimes the angels amend your prayers in transit, I guess. I begin to protest, but the gruff voice of wisdom yells at me in my head: "Just deal with, Cupcake, don't let in ruin your Christmas".
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