Missing your miracles? Just look around

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2000

I’ve felt a little bit like Ebeneezer Whipple this week. I don’t think I’ve ever entered the Christmas season with so little holiday spirit. No matter how many ornaments I hung on my tree, no matter how many lighted houses I passed on the street at night, no matter how many times I drove around the downtown Christmas tree, I just couldn’t find my inner Santa.

Small wonder.

I spend more time than I would sometimes care to do reading wire stories from all over the world.

Email newsletter signup

In the past week or so, this is what I’ve learned:

A woman in California threw herself from a company commuter plane, shocking her co-workers into silence, even when the co-pilot came back to close the door. Later they said she was &uot;despondent.&uot;

They’re fighting in Bethlehem; they almost canceled Christmas.

A man in Minnesota killed a 10-year-old and fed the boy to his neighbors.

The college town I called home for four years is reeling from one of its deadliest tornadoes: 10 people dead, more injured, immeasurable losses.

A woman, eight months pregnant, was thrown from her husband’s truck in Louisville, Ky. She was killed; the baby survived.

They called it a &uot;miracle.&uot;

I think that’s finally the story that made me stop.

It is an unbelievable horror.

I cannot imagine how her husband feels in the face of such joy overshadowed by pain.

That’s when I began to realize what the holiday season really means.

Dorothy Parker wrote a poem – several, actually – which consider the Virgin Mary’s point of view on the birth of her Son.

In one, each day with her Son is a gift for the &uot;Gentlest Lady&uot; – because she knew he was going to die.

&uot;They say she’d kiss the Boy awake,/And hail Him gay and clear,/ But oh, her heart was like to break/To count another year,&uot; Parker writes.

It is easy to forget, I think, that Mary was human as we are. While she willingly accepted the role God carved for her, it must have broken her heart, every day, to know what sacrifice he would eventually make.

Again: How does one face such joy and pain at the same time?

Catholics begin the Rosary by meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the Nativity; but those mysteries are followed swiftly by the Sorrowful Mysteries tracing the events that precede Christ’s rising on Easter Sunday.

It would be simple to believe that joy is the cliched silver lining of sorrow, the glass half-full.

The older I get, I know life will never be that simple.

Christmas is a season of mysteries.

It is a season in which we spend exorbitant amounts of money to please our relatives.

It is a season in which, for the most part, the poor remain poor, the hungry still go hungry.

And yet we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world.

Because Christmas is also a season of miracles.

We just have to know where to find them: a warm smile at the end of a hectic day; a card from a friend long forgotten; the sound of coins in a Salvation Army kettle.

And a baby born from tragedy on a snowy highway.

A friend once told me: &uot;I hope to God I’m not missing my miracles.&uot;

We have only to look around.

Kerry Whipple is news editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3562 or by e-mail at kerry.whipple@ natchezdemocrat.com.