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Small Candle Magic

There is something about this time of year with all the feasting and fairy lights and cozy fire places that challenges all the bad things in the world to kick it up a notch or two.
Ever notice that?
On one street corner they are serenading those merry gentlemen and the next street over in a dark and sad corner someone's heart is being broken. 
How terrible, I think to myself, as yet another tragedy comes to my notice, that it all happens now, during that "most wonderful time of the year." What irony! Can't evil take the holiday off like the rest of us? I remember that dark Christmas we spent in the hospital with Leo two years ago now, indeed I couldn't forget it even if I tried since Facebook has this nifty new feature which shows you old postings again and again. Honestly, this feature I could live without just fine. Don't they realize that some memories, like that ancient jar of something you can't ever remember to throw out, are best left in those nice, dusty pantries of our psyche? For the past week I've been subjected to those pictures of Leo in the midst of shunt failure. But can one truly forget those kinds of things?

Fans of HONY will remember a posting last month of a Syrian refuge family stuck in limbo with a sick child who was diagnosed in the comments section by numerous self appointed experts as suffering from Hydrocephalus. He might be, but I'm not sure the poor mother (or the boy) benefits from having hundreds of strangers diagnose her child from one single photo with something that from her seat, is incurable anyway. I can relate to her feeling of complete helplessness and if she is like me in temperament, probably a dose of anger too.
What good is it, if thousands stand by and do nothing but post useless comments while children die?
Maybe "Santa Baby" should bring that poor boy a shunt instead of empty and useless platitudes.

Many parents of special needs children often face the other side of the coin at this time. Children with compromised immune systems spend most of the holiday season either very ill in the hospital, or with parents so nervous about them getting sick that they basically spend the holiday season as shut-ins. For others, buying presents isn't really that fun when you know your child won't be able to unwrap it himself or even understand why he should. It is hard to pick out something for him, because usually, it only reminds you of his delays as you shop in the infant/toddler section of the store. Leo only has one present under the tree, and it is basically a token one. I think he will eventually like it, since I re-packaged it with batteries installed and in such a way that it won't trigger his sensory issues. I hope it won't anyway. I can't deny that it makes me sad. It also makes me happy, because he will be opening his present at home, surrounded by we who love him, and who remember at least once a day, what an amazing gift his presence is in spite of it all. 
But how can giving a gift be sad and happy at the same time?
How can we stack presents for our children under our trees and not remember those children who will not get any presents or trees or even see the sun rise tomorrow?
How is it that we can cry and laugh at the same time?

Perhaps it is because that's ultimately what Christmas is all about.  Like the tragedy of that Syrian mother who not only lost her home to monsters but also stands to watch the loss of her son day by agonizing day; so did the Mother of God experience overwhelming joy at the birth of her son, but also terrible grief and helplessness of his impending death, since he came into this world only to die just like the rest of us poor slobs.
This is the somber reality behind the hallmark consumerism of this holiday. Santa is all very well, as is the act of giving gifts to those we love..but what about those we don't?
That boy, who without proper treatment will surely wane away, leaving a hole the size of the world in his mother's heart: who will remember him?

Five years ago: Baby Leo's first Christmas- lots of tears and joy (from the grown-ups that is. He played it cool).
Sometimes it seems like the bad far outnumbers the happiness in our world.
But the magic and mystery is that no matter how much evil there is, even one small candle lit with the fire of love can obliterate more darkness than an eternity of evil.
Laughter and tears, courage and fear, life and death: all becomes something else when it is gently washed in the candle light.
Magic is not gone. Every time someone chooses to hold a candle not to gain everything, not to change everything, but to do it in spite of everything, is when the darkness flees and true magic begins.
Our world is flawed; fallen and in pain, but in spite of it -because of it- we live.

Blessed Nativity - Merry Christmas- Happy New Year- All blessings of magic, candles, love, and courage to all our dear friends and blog readers!


  1. [Parenthetically, I could do without that FB function too. I really didn't need to be reminded of the dark days when I miscarried for the second time, right before Christmas.] Holding a candle against the darkness...

  2. Having a bit of a rough time this Christmas and thought I checked your blog, since I often find wisdom and encouragement in your posts. Thank you Anna - your words are like the candle light for my darkness. Merry Christmas to your beautiful family. Leo and you guys are always in my prayers.


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