St. Joseph School
235 Wall St.
Kingston, NY 12401
Student Name: Michelle Moughan Principal: Mrs. Nadene Cafasso
Grade 8 St. Joseph School, Kingston ELA Teacher: Mrs. Susan Traudt
"My Favorite Christmas Moment"
"Hey Mommy, can I please have another cookie?" My little nine year old self asked.
My brothers and I could hardly contain ourselves. It was Christmas Eve! Our mom was wrapping up the cookies she made for our Aunt Jen's Christmas party. We go every year, after church, of course.
After church! Church was one of the hardest things about Christmas for us when we were younger and that year, my brothers were 5 and 6! As you might assume, we were brimming with pre-church whininess. We felt it was unfair to suffer through mass especially with our itchy Christmas outfits. Why couldn't we just go straight to the party? Every year there was a feast with of dessert! Of course our favorite part was the gift giving! (or in our minds, the gift getting)
Once we got to church, I couldn't help but feel a little excited. I had a new Christmas dress, (less itchy, I noticed), as was very happy with how it looked. Those feelings soon went away when I saw how many people there were! The church we went to on Christmas Eve was relatively small because it actually was the mission branch of our parish. I knew Mass would take a long time!
Now that I was a little older, I understood the readings better. Even so, the homily was a challenge. I always ended up daydreaming at one point or another. After waiting patiently, (I thought), through the Liturgy of the Word, next came my favorite part of the Mass: Communion. I knew how important and special it was to partake in the body of Christ, even through my grumpies. It took a while, but Communion came to an end, and I was bursting at the seams to enjoy the after-Mass festivities at Aunt Jen's. I was waiting for the priest to say the closing prayer, but he didn't. Suddenly, someone turned off the lights. The choir slowly started to hum a beautiful "Silent Night." I had forgotten about this part. I was about to go into my usual state of crankiness, but it never happened. I was singing. My immaturity melted away and the only thing I was thinking about was the nativity set that illuminated the dark. It seemed like the points of the star hanging above it shot warm rays of light into my soul. I stopped thinking about getting away and more about celebrating Jesus' birth. His small outstretched arms seemed to be welcoming me to the joy He brought.
We stopped singing, but instead of turning the lights on and saying goodbyes, we just stood in the wonderful silence. We were united by our faith and each felt the presence of God in the room. I never wanted it to end.
As I walked out into the chilled winter air, I felt a change. I wasn't so worried about rushing to the party, I was still thinking about the display of God's love I had seen inside the church. Then it hit me. I had always been told what Christmas is all about, ever since I was a toddler. Now, I joyfully realized: I understood.
(This is a true story of how I understood the real meaning of Christmas.)
The Author: Michelle Moughan, St. Joseph School Grade 8th student, was one of the winners in the Archdiocese of New York Essay Contest. Michelle won tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and a Stage Door Tour. The topic Oof the eassay was “My Favorite Christmas Moment”.