"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness." ~Bob Hope
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. As the time for celebration and thanksgiving approaches nearer I am fondly recollecting all my past memories. I cannot control myself from being transported back in time whenever I hear Christmas songs of Jim Reeves and Boney M.
Back in my school days the celebration starts from the 1st day of December as we look forward to decorating our class windows and bulletin boards with the Christmas theme. It was a fun filled month and we all had the last working day before the Christmas hols free as our teaches gave us time to decorate our windows that would overlook the play ground where the mid-night mass would be held on the 24th of December.
Then at home me and my sister get down to decorating our Christmas tree. The boxes of decoration are brought down and streamers, Christmas balls, lights and tinsel come out and onto our Christmas tree. The crib is build by my dad. Its almost like a ritual and he takes pride in his creation. My mum gives ideas as to the perfect spot to prop our tree and crib. She is our interior decorator so have to consult her regarding any changes that would effect the room layout.
On the evening of 24th as we get ready for the big day and the Mass, me and my sister get into the festive spirit and dance to the Christmas songs. The house is filled with the smell of my dad cooking dinner (his special mutton curry) and my mom preparing mutton stew for the Christmas morning breakfast. The stew is 3/4th done and the final assembling is done in the morning and served hot with appam (appamps are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour). After we (me and my sister) finish our version of ballroom dancing (its a nice way to burn off all that cake and wine) we head off to shower and get ready for Mass. The Mass - the length of which is often determined by which priest is giving the sermon is usually over by 1:30 am .....we wish each other and all who are near by (even strangers) with a warm hand and toothy grins "Merry Christmas". Then we look for those in the crowd who are our friends and relatives and give them greetings and sometimes they come over for a quick cake and wine (wine is prepared by my dad and simply the best) party.
On the day of Christmas (that is for me and my sister around 10a.m.) we wake up to the sweet smell of stew and appam........can't wait to dig in...hehehe!!! we rush off for a quick brush and combing session before we seat our selves at the dining table which is loaded with yummy mouth watering dishes. My parents would have already had their breakfast (early risers) and they would be busy preparing the next meal of the day. Well Christmas is filled with food and more food hehehe!!!! All my mom's culinary expertise are displayed on this day and my dad who is a fierce competitor does his share of cooking to make sure the credit is equally divided between him and his wife. Don't think we (me and my sister) only eat cause we do our share of helping mum in assembling the dishes.We usually do the chopping, washing and all other kitchen work as directed by mom.
Hmmm.....this narration has captured the essence of Christmas on the outside but in reality its more spiritual than anyone can ever express as we become aware of God's greatest gift to mankind "Himself". We hope and pray that our Savior is born again in our hearts as on that night long ago in Bethlehem and that He remains there through out the year to strengthen, guide and guard us.
This Christmas is special to me in many ways. This is the 1st Christmas with my son. And this is the 1st Christmas I am celebrating with only me, my hubby and son (small family). This will be the 1st Christmas of the many more such Christmases for us together where I take on the role of my mother, my hubby plays the daddy and my son would be "a reflection of our childhood days".
"Tradition: sit with husband in a room lit only by tree lights and remember that our blessings outnumber the lights. Happy Christmas to all." ~Betsy Cañas Garmon