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Happy New Year – Advent Style | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Happy New Year – Advent Style

Our homily in Church began this morning with the priest saying, “Happy New Year!” Today is the beginning of the new liturgical year, the first Sunday of Advent.

As he talked about time passing, I saw living examples of his message throughout the congregation. My husband and I were there with our daughter before she returned to school on Christmas break, while our son was out of town.  We’re on the cusp of an empty nest.

This Advent is very special to me because last year, on the second Sunday of Advent, I missed Mass because I got sick, had a heart attack, and was then lying on an operating table during an emergency procedure to put in a stent and clear a blocked artery. When they started the procedure and went into my artery, I flinched. The cardiologist told me, “If you move like that again, you will die.”  So I didn’t move. At one point during the procedure, I knew something wasn’t going well but didn’t know what. They told me to cough, and those in the room seemed to relax. They later told me that the tension I sensed was because my heart rate dropped dramatically.

I didn’t know if I would live till Christmas, let alone for another year.

I was struck during the homily that having that heart attack was one of the best things that had happened to me in years. It reminded me of the miracle of life and to savor every moment, even the bad ones.

Life is beautiful, even when it is dirty, painful, and messy. We are all in our own chapters of our stories, and stories always include struggles. As I looked through the congregation, I saw families each in their own stories.

  • There was the young couple with the wife who was sick and her husband, who silently helped her stand when she needed help and helped her with medication.
  • There was the little boy with his parents, playing with a rosary and pretending it was a lasso.
  • There were the teen-aged siblings who teased each other during parts of the Mass, enjoying and irritating each other as only siblings can do.
  • There was the family preparing to move, to venture to a new home.
  • There was the older couple who go to Mass every day and are utterly devoted to each other.
  • There was the couple who helped their mother as she continues her determined walk with a walker.

Some of these stories have similar chapters in my own book. Others are unique.

Whatever the chapter, I realized we have all been given a gift today…a gift of life.

When I hear Christmas carols this year, they sound more precious because each is a celebration. I’m still here. You’re still here. We’re here together. And I want to make the most of it.

So if you see me singing in my car, or if you see me standing in line at a convenience store while the store pipes in Christmas carols, don’t pause if I start to dance a little jig in my place in line or start singing the carol.

I’m happy to be here. The songs I sing are part of my victory dance with life because I got another year with the people I love the most.

Happy new year. Let’s make the most of it.


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