Since I was a little girl I have always been mesmerized with the whole concept and the tradition of celebrating Christmas. It was evident due to the fact that I studied in a convent school and it was obvious that the love for Jesus and the admiration for the Bible would rub off on me as we had nuns and sisters in our institute praising the Lord whenever possible! I am sure many of you who have studied in a convent or a missionary school can relate exactly to what I m trying to say here. If not then read further!
- My first encounter with Christianity occurred when I was admitted in school and we were told about the Bible and how it all evolved. I still vividly remember the stories of Noah, Moses and the other characters which existed before God decided to send his son to save the world, Ms. June (I still remember her name) used to make sure we did. Years went by and we got to know and learn more and more about this religion and bible in fact to such an extent that we ended up knowing more about Christianity than our own respective religions by birth. However, it was a good learning experience and I seriously appreciate some of the moral and ethical values that were instilled in me since a very young age.
- The best part, hands down, was when we got to celebrate Christmas at school before the closing for the winter vacations. It used to be a grand celebration and I dearly miss those delightful days. We used to practice the Christmas carols weeks before Christmas and missing out on those boring chemistry and arithmetic classes was a major bonus, which meant a great deal to us back then because the “Bunking culture” only starts from college. So there we were, innocent souls, singing our hearts out every morning without a care in the world and it’s weird but I still know all the carols and hymns by heart even though it has been so many years I haven’t sung in a choir. It’s probably because our instructor was a perfectionist and used to grill us until and unless we got the notes right!
- Along with the carols some of us also used to enact the parts of Mother Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, King Herod, the Sheppard and other characters (even the animals including the donkey). It felt so real and we used to rejoice and sing aloud as though Christ was born again!
- We religiously waited for Santa Claus to come and visit us every Christmas eve with a bag full of goodies. And yes, my sister and I used to put out stockings on the fire place for Santa to fill it with gifts only to find it empty the next morning but still hoped that he would visit us next year! Gradually, we were bound to find out the truth and it was very depressing.
- Accordingly, another most exciting part was decorating the Christmas trees in school with our friends and teachers which used to be a grand tradition. Although, we were not Christian our parents were always supportive and used to be amused at our enthusiasm and enjoyed watching us play and decorate our small Christmas trees at home with awe!
- In fact, we used to be so immerged in the Christmas spirit that we also used to make our own greeting cards for this occasion. Hand-made cards with beautiful bells, mistletoes, candles, stars and angels, it used to be a lot of hard work but it was worth it. Since I was creative even as a child I used to love doing artsy things and I for me these are one of the most beautiful memories of my childhood that I so dearly miss.
- Consequently, the Christmas gifts and goodies were an icing on the cake. Although Santa always dampened our spirits by never turning up, we were always instantly cheered up as we used to attend Christmas parties with our parents and we always used to get goodies wrapped in pretty little papers and ribbons and we were all smiles once again!
- I doubt if there ever existed a child who had no sweet tooth. Children love sweets and candies and bakery items and they would love to survive on these alone only if the elders did not object. However, Christmas food mostly contains of these delicious items and parents surprisingly are fine with it. I used to feel as though I’ve reached Paradise.
- Lastly and most importantly, we have always been taught that the main reason for celebrating Christmas is spreading joy, kindness, beauty and love. Hence, we used to actively participate in projects and programs where we used donate clothes, books, food and other miscellaneous items as Christmas gifts to the homeless and downtrodden. This act of giving and spreading love is still imbibed in us and I feel thankful towards our teachers and sisters for teaching us such values.
As a result, every year during this time of the year I get nostalgic and I miss my childhood. This festival is very close to my heart as it reminds me of those days when life used to be so simple, beautiful and stress free. I don’t mean to dwell in the past and it’s not that I don’t appreciate my present but yes I do cherish these yester years filled with love, hope and innocence. I am sure you do too. I hope this post was able to bring back some of those charming and touching memories of your as well. Those memories that were clogged up or covered up behind all the stress and “Grown up stuff’ and I hope it was able to bring a smile on your faces. Even if my post was able to light up those tired eyes I will consider my job well done. This much for now, don’t forget to cherish your loved ones and of course don’t forget the main meaning behind celebrating this wonderful festival! Spread love and peace and Merry Christmas!