Another Christmas Eve is here, and all I can think about it how different it’s going to be this year. I’m in a new place in life: James and I are engaged, he’s finally done with college, and I was fortunate enough to have a steady job all year. Sure there were plenty of problems this year, but all of that is ok for now, because James and I have each other and the promise of a new life together starting sometime soon.
This year, for the first time in 5-6 years, I’m not cooking. I was really bummed at first, since I love cooking our major Italian feast we do every year. Today, though, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about 15 eggs worth of fresh pasta and can just go to James’s parents’ house and relax this evening.
Why is it that life is nothing but one change after another, yet humans still can’t get used to it? Something about the holidays always highlights this feeling. People always long for those golden years, whenever they were, when Christmas was perfect and the same every year. Christmas is way different for me this year, but it’s going to be ok. Despite everything else, one wonderful change is that we’re engaged. Even though we don’t have a date, we’re getting married soon. I think at Christmas, like every other time of year, we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out for the best. Maybe that is what Christmas means anyways. The day Jesus was born was not the day that he saved us, but it WAS the day that we receive the promise of hope, that God has a plan, and that all things will work out for good in the end.
My feelings about St. Patrick’s day have gone up and down a lot over the years. When I was in kindergarten and early elementary school , it was fun because we got to watch a cartoon movie about St. Patrick and eat green sugar cookies, and when I got home, my mom had a cake ready for desert. Later on, in Catholic middle school, I had my first encounter with a few stubborn and ignorant people. “St. Patrick was Italian, you know,” I said (which was true). Then they cried, “No he wasn’t! He was Irish!” “No,” I countered, “He was sent to the Irish to convert them to Christianity. He wasn’t Irish himself.” “No that can’t be right!” they responded, frantically. “He has to be Irish! It’s our Irish holiday!”
I think that was how it started. Yep. I’ve never been very patient with people who insist on continuing in ignorance. That encounter really made me hate St. Patrick’s day. There are many Irish-Americans who are proud of their heritage and do their best to continue their Irish traditions throughout the year. I respect those people. On the other hand, there are many so-called “Irish-Americans” who ignore all semblance of Irish heritage except on March 17, when they dress up in green and drink as much green beer and whiskey as possible in 24 hours. That is despicable. (The same goes for people of any ethnicity in America. Love your heritage every day and that’s fine. Use it once a year to make a fool of yourself and your people, and I can’t stand you.)
The fights continued into college. “Corned beef and cabbage aren’t Irish, they’re Polish. The Irish in America at it because it was all they could afford. That’s why they remember it on St. Patrick’s day.” –Another true fact that the once-a-year-Irish like to ignore.
Couple these fights with green-wearing drunk people throwing up in my classes on St. Patrick’s day, and it’s easy to see why anyone could learn to hate that day.
It wasn’t until I met a particular Irish friend of mine that I began to love St. Patrick’s day. This girl’s half Irish and half Italian, and she loves both her blood-lines. She’s Irish-American everyday, and proud of it. One year she invited me to her St. Patrick’s Day party, and I have to say that I look forward to that holiday now more than I ever thought I could. It’s not a beer-fest. It’s an Irish fest. Banoffee pie, salt and vinegar chips, cheddar and Dubliner cheese, soda bread, and Guinness, of course. She converted me. I’m hooked. I will now be celebrating St. Patrick’s day from now on.