Our 7th annual Big Christmas Party exceeded anticipated levels of joy, fun, Christmas spirit, laughter and delicious food. It was as if the Ghost of Christmas Present had set up camp in that church hall for the evening, with all the mirth and merriment he could muster.
The hundred people at the party were a mixture of people with disabilities and their support staff. They came ready to celebrate, eat, and sing Christmas carols and it didn't matter one bit if the key was right or wrong. Christmas crackers banged and made us jump as they popped open and the treasures fell out. Some people even put on the crazy red and yellow tissue paper crowns.
This party is like a big family reunion where you get to see more of your favourite people at one time than any other in the year.
Eventually we were spent! People gathered up belongings and the small gifts they had won in the Christmas craft contest, and headed out into the dark winter night where vans were warming up ready to head home to various parts of two counties with shouts of "Goodbye!" and, " Merry Christmas!"
But in an atmosphere of celebration, loss is more keenly felt and one person leaned into me sadly as he left and said, in a low voice that had a catch in it, that he was missing his mother very much. I transitioned from celebration to empathy and in word and gentle touch, tried to convey understanding and sympathy. That was when a pint sized friend of his with hearing aids in both ears and a glorious mane of long auburn hair arrived on the scene.
She spoke with the slightly unclear speech of one hearing impaired from birth but there was no misunderstanding what she had to say. She sized up the situation quickly and, like one of the original angels proclaiming the news of that first Christmas. she said, "What? Don't you know that they celebrate Christmas in heaven? They're probably celebrating right now!"
My sad friend's expression brightened, "No-one told me that before," he said,"I didn't know that."
"Yes," said Miss Messenger of Good News, "I bet they even have turkey. Use your imagination!"
The gloom dispelled--they were on their way--what do I know?!