by Howard Hain
Christmas is a time for grandmothers.
They bake and cook and decorate. Their homes become mini North Poles, diplomatic outposts of Santa’s Castle.
At its core, Christmas is of course all about Jesus. All about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. All about the Holy Family.
The Holy Family is an extended family though. And it doesn’t stop at grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, or even cousins and distant cousins.
Just ask Saints Joachim and Anne, Zechariah and Elizabeth, or John the Baptist—not to mention all the unknown relatives whom the child Jesus surely encountered throughout His Galilean days. Ask any one of them about the far-reaching ripple effects of family grace.
Those touched by Jesus have a tendency to appear bigger than life.
Look at Santa Claus.
Most of us are aware that he is really Saint Nick.
But do we stop to wonder who Mrs. Claus really is?
I think she’s Saint Anne.
After all, Mrs. Claus is seen as everyone’s grandmother, especially when it comes to holiday cheer. But when it comes to truly celebrating the birth of Jesus, it is through Saint Anne that we approach the gates of Christ’s Nativity.
Mary’s Mother holds a special key. She is first among grandmas, first among those who pinch chubby cheeks, who pass along one more extra sugary treat.
Saint Anne help us. Speak to us. Show us how to be grand parents to all those around us, especially the little ones. Stir up the spirit of Advent. Bake away the holiday blues. Cook up a dish of Christmas love that only your hearth can serve.
Come one, come all, to the home of Saint Anne. Come with me to Grandma’s house for a holiday visit. Taste and see. Enter her kitchen, where the hot chocolate can always fit a little more whipped cream, where you hear the constant refrain: “eat…eat…eat…”
At Grandma’s your plate is never empty.
Her table is continually set.
She always sees Jesus as having just been born.
She is always wrapping Him up tightly in swaddling clothes.
It is simply grand.
To Grandma, Jesus is always an innocent child.
And she can’t help but see Him deep within both you and me.
Howard Hain is a contemplative layman, husband, and father.