This year, I committed myself to converting to Catholicism for my future family. Last January, as I made my resolutions, it seemed easy enough: learn to cook, check; call in-laws more often, check; become Catholic, check. Ha. It is so. Not. That. Easy.
I called up the lady in the church bulletin the first week of January. "Hello. I was just calling up to sign up for the RCIA classes to become Catholic, thanks." "Honey, call back in August. That's when the classes start for the next round of confirmations." Huh? I was so disappointed not to be able to cross it off my list of things to do that week.
In August, I called back. I got all the paperwork in order: baptism certificates, marriage certificates, my husband's confirmation certificate, registration for the classes and a schedule. You would have thought I was registering for law school. My eyes about bogged out of my head when I saw there were classes every Wednesday night from August until the following May. Nine months?! My husband agreed to be my sponsor and go to every class with me. I was shocked by his enthusiasm. He was actually looking forward to it. For once, I think he felt he was going to be totally in his element with me in a church setting. No more "rock and roll Sundays" as he called them at our nondenominational church. He was going back to his roots, and I was coming with him, and he was thrilled.
So, to make a long story short, we are in our 17th week of classes. We haven't missed a single one. We have both learned so much, and have begun to see each other, our marriage, our place in the world together in a whole new way. It has strengthened our relationship like you wouldn't believe. We discuss Jesus and the miracles he performed and what he continues to do all around us. We say our prayers at night. We look forward to the quiet time sitting in the pew on Sundays together. The only time during the whole week when we sit that close for that long without speaking.
And so this Christmas, we talked the other night and agreed that this Christmas just doesn't seem as "big of a deal" as ones past. And I mean that in a good way. We downsized our decorations. We give thanks for the real gifts in life and haven't obsessed over a single purchased present. We have attended fewer Christmas parties with silly dress-up themes. It's been wonderful. This Christmas doesn't seem as built-up because we've learned to appreciate the remaining 364 days of the year when Jesus is just as important. When the Blessed Mother is just as holy. That's been the real joy of this whole year: being happy and healthy and in love and working and surrounded by dear friends and family, and realizing it. It's been one of the happiest of my life.