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what my grandmother taught me about Christmas

December 25, 2020  |  Posted by Heather Dominick

When I think of my grandmother I think of her hands. They were beautifully smooth with long slim fingers always adorned with multiple rings. My hands seemed so small, pudgy and less beautiful compared to hers, but I didn’t care as long as my hands were enfolded in hers, which they usually were.

I would hold her hand as we walked. Play with the rings on her fingers as we sat and talked. And in her final days with Alzheimer’s, I would gently bathe her hands with mild soap, water and a warm washcloth as if she were a queen or a client at a 5th Avenue spa.

What I also remember about my grandmother’s hands is that they were often holding a bible. She would read scripture in the early morning, before bed and sometimes in the middle of the day. Since my parents didn’t raise me within a specific religion, my grandmother and her hands were my gateway to the mysterious world of Italian Catholicism. I would sit with her in church, holding her hand, staring at the sun shining through the stained glass windows, not necessarily connecting to what was being said, but very much connecting to what I could sense, through my grandmother’s hands, was being felt.

Which is why, for me, this time of year is about my grandmother. The stories she would tell every year, as I helped her set up the nativity (or “persab” as she would say, slang for presepio in Italian) under her Christmas tree, of the wise men who traveled through a desert, arriving 12 days late to honor a special baby who’d been born. So, I’d set up the wise men far away from the tree (usually on the radiator) and move them closer and closer each day until January 6th, Little Christmas, when they could finally arrive within the manager under the tree.

To me, it’s always been a story of perseverance, spiritual vision and intuition. Being guided “by a star” towards what you know to be true but cannot yet see, which seems right in line with 2020, a year that, if it brought us anything, brought us the opportunity to master radical change. We now expect that we don’t know what to expect, but we know it won’t be the same as anything that came before.

As Highly Sensitive Leaders, we are being called forward, through the desert of this change, guided to something greater, asked to “follow the star” of our strengths such as intuition, empathy, and deep listening. To stay the course, hold out our hands to others, and bring our gifts to the new world that awaits each and every one of us.

In Faith – this time of year and always,
XO. Heather

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