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Pat Dryburgh

One more day. One more day until I wake up to the smells of eggnog and coffee, the sound of my siblings running through the family room gleaming over the treasures they have found in their stockings, the feeling of anticipation in seeing both what I had received as well as the reactions to what I have to give. 

Actually, this will be the first Christmas where I don’t wake up in my Dorchester home. However the anticipation I feel for this Christmas seems to be stronger than many I have had over the past few years. In fact, it seems to me as though this is the best Christmas I have had in quite a while. 

Seven days before Christmas in 2005, I was in a car accident. More accurately, I was in a collision. Having returned home from college after my final exam, I went into town to spend time with friends. We ended up staying out fairly late, past two in the morning. I had a half hour drive ahead of me and while I felt a bit tired I still believed I could make it home safely. About half way home as I was driving through an intersection I fell asleep at the wheel. Few cars were around at this time of night, so I didn’t hit anyone. I went straight into the ditch and hit a slope, flew about 20 feet through the air, and landed on the front of my mom’s car. It was totalled. I woke up on impact. As soon as the car was stopped and I had somewhat regained composure, I reached for my cell phone to call my parents. I couldn’t find it. I noticed lights behind me and got out of my car. A driver behind me had seen the whole thing and pulled over when he realized I went into the ditch. He gave me his phone to use and I asked my dad to come get me. My mom’s car ended up being totally destroyed; I walked away with a sore back. 

2006 was a hard year for me. I went through a lot of loss, and made some bad decisions about my finances and living arrangements. I had agreed to move into an apartment with a good friend of mine from church even though I wasn’t quite able to afford everything. From September to December, I had to borrow several thousand dollars from my parents. I was broke. I had grown up in a family that had a nice home and nice things. This Christmas I was poor. 

In 2007 on Christmas Eve, the church I worked for held its Christmas Eve service outdoors. I, along with my music team, played for approximately 40 minutes in freezing cold snow and wind. My hands were numb as I played the drums. After the service and tearing things down, I drove 3 hours to get back home to Dorchester for Christmas. The roads were rough. I felt pretty sick the rest of that week. A lot of the work that I was supposed to do that week didn’t get done. I got back to Barrie and was really behind. I basically felt as though there was no way to catch up, and I felt like a failure. 

A year has passed since last Christmas, and I have to say that this year has been on one hand the single hardest year yet, and on the other hand one of the most rewarding years I’ve had. I have a great job, a great family, a great girlfriend, great friends, a new band. It feels in a way that this Christmas is coming too easy; I feel like I don’t deserve it. 

And I don’t deserve it. None of us do. While there’s still a lot of questions in my mind and heart, and while I am unsettled about a lot of things, I still believe that this season marks the coming of a true remedy for the human problem. Even though I screw up. Even though I mess things up for me, my friends, my colleagues, my family and more, I know there is someone who can fix it. It isn’t a simple fix. It isn’t a bandaid. It’s a cure. It needs to work its way slowly, through my head, my heart, my actions, my reactions, my attitudes, my words… 

This is the story of Christmas. That all our failures are forgiven. All our sins are erased. There is no more record of my screw ups. Tomorrow is a new day. This is a new life. 

Merry Christmas to all.

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