Christmas Day is always my favorite Module Day of the season. As a teen, it was the day you could sleep in and still make it and see people you might not have seen in a while who also didn’t want to wake up early on a Sunday. It was always a good chance to bring a friend for their first Day because it’s Christmas! And since you had to bring a gift and your mother had to help you cook or bake something to bring, it was less likely people were not going to show up. As a teen in the 1980’s, Christmas Day was always held at St. Andrew’s on Northern Boulevard in Flushing. There would always be a Christmas themed icebreaker involving Christmas Carols. We would wrap the gifts and get back in our coats and hats and get driven to a Nursing home and sing those same Christmas Carols. Or at least try to. We would return and have the most beautiful Masses where the Module’s extended family and friends would come to celebrate together. And about halfway through, you would start to smell the food from the pot luck supper being warmed. Waiting on those lines to decide what you wanted felt like it lasted forever but it would always taste like the best meal you ever ate. You would leave filled with the holiday spirit into the darkened night and your Christmas season could officially start.
Years later when I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the Team, you learned that the ease of a wonderful Christmas Day came with enormous planning and team work. Organizing the food, preparing the Santa letters from Homes for the Homeless or other shelters we would bring gifts for. Hoping Mike Fletcher would be able to borrow enough supplies from his pharmacy job to wrap everything and who would be responsible for getting those gifts delivered in time. Praying that we would not see the same exact Meaning of Christmas skits from every small group. Coming together for Father Tony’s Christmas Mass and seeing old friends who you might not have seen in a while but knowing there was always a gathering of our Module family on that second Sunday in December. And the food was always good, no matter who made it.
My favorite Christmas Day was in 2004. I had met Lise the spring before and had not introduced her to many people yet and the second Sunday in December was coming. Coming from New Jersey meant arriving early but I didn’t want to make her spend the whole day at St. Andrew’s so she went to Bay Terrace and did her Christmas shopping while I worked the Day. I left to pick her up and brought her to meet my world. Irene noticed how tiny she was. Tommy welcomed her with a big hug and asked where I had been hiding her until now. She was welcomed with open arms and invited to join us and even helped me wrap some gifts, which I still have no ability to do. Having her there to share my favorite Day made it even more special and I am hoping to one day bring my sons to experience it as well.
As we got older, things changed as they tend to do. It was harder to have a Christmas Day on a Sunday and it was moved to Friday night. There was still the same spirit though. Gifts to be wrapped and food to be shared. A community of old friends and new coming together to celebrate the Birth of Jesus with our Module family. No matter where and when, it will always be Christmas Day that second week in December. The holiday spirit begins anew each year and knowing that the Module’s Christmas Day is coming brings the gift of the holidays to us.