Last Friday I drove with my husband and my two cousins Louise and Frank through the Winter Wonderland at Slater Park. They are older but much more nimble than I am. One small limitation they have is that they do not like to drive at night. I am not yet bothered by the night driving and I wanted to share the display of lights and family devotion that is WINTER WONDERLAND in SLATER PARK. We drove through and even in the slight drizzle the air was warm and we enjoyed seeing the hundreds of decorated trees.
Since my cousins are both long time Pawtucket residents, they recognized many of the family names that are memorialized with the placard and the pictures that some families attach to the trees.
What a magnificent testimony that display is to not only the real meaning of Christmas which is to remember and pray for all those who have made our lives possible and love-filled--beginning with the infant and his Holy Mother and leading up to our own mothers and fathers and all those ancestors in between who showed us the way to eternity. Christ famously said that in His Father's house there are many mansions. And I think that he meant that there would be a place prepared for all of us and that is why the Xmas trees--so many and so differently decorated --reflect that spirit of inclusion. There is an old Universalist Saying GOD DID NOT MAKE SOULS TO LOSE THEM. The mansions of heaven will be myriad and they will be different but they will be there for each and every one of us--waiting for us. God must love difference because He made each of us with our unique DNA and He wants us to bring those diverse talents tot he table of life.
After the joy of seeing Winter Wonderland I got a bit ambitious and decided to ask my cousins if they could also spare the time to take a drive to the shrine at LaSalette. They agreed and with Frank's excellent directions we followed back roads that were new to me and we were there in a short time. We drove into a dark parking lot and there were no lights. We could see buses lined up and some people were leaving their cars. I drove closer to one little family and rolled down the window --
What happened to the lights? I shouted to them--they come on at 5pm, they answered,
I looked at my clock in the car and it read 4-48. We counted down the two minutes and suddenly the old shrine was ablaze of light. And we were struck with the beauty and drove around many times to see all the nooks and crannies of that site.
It struck me as an enactment of that night over 2000 years ago. It was dark and the world was shrouded in longing for its Creator and then it was a blaze of Light. My Aunt Grace displayed in her living room that famous painting of Christ as THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD and here in our humble way in Attleboro we saw it happen and we were de-LIGHTED .
All the way home we talked about the old days and the places on Main Street Pawtucket that we remembered and described. How my Aunt Anna and her friend Rita would go bowling and then stop at the Windsor Diner. Or Frank recalled Majestic Novelties -- a store that he had run. And I thought about Thursday night Xmas shopping at Prescoe's and Shartenbergs and so many other details of our lives filled with no cars-- just bus rides and long walks--ALL IS CALM ALL IS BRIGHT.