Long time ago in Bethleham
So the holy Bible Says
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas day.
I still remember this Christmas carol that I learnt about eleven years back while I was in school. We were supposed to perform at a morning assembly where we sang many such delightful Christmas carols and the stage was brightly lit and magnificently adorned. Christmas always brings back old memories, the fragrance of cakes, my Christmas tree, those little parties, school gatherings and the prayers at Church. My entire fourteen years of school education were spent at a Girls’ Convent School because of which I have been always connected to the Bible, Christianity and Christmas. Then, there were those childhood days when I had a Christmas tree which my brother and I would decorate on the Eve. I bought little stars, hangings, ribbons, cotton and sparkles and expended whatever creativity I had on that pretty thing. My mother would bake a cake and cook bowls of Noodles for us. That was Christmas, once upon a time.
We had a ten-day vacation during Christmas every year yet I made it a point to go to school on the 25th where the Sisters (nuns) of our Convent undoubtedly held a small feast. There were pastries, doughnuts, cream-buns, chips, wafers and stuff and we were greeted with lovely smiles and wishes. (I confess, food was my chief motivation). Also, there was a beautiful church just behind our school where I went with my friends or my mother to just see how Christmas was celebrated. I loved gazing at all the dazzling decorations and the candles that people lighted there. Sometimes I would wish I had a Christian friend who would invite me home for dinner and let me hang a stocking at the tree. That was Christmas, once upon a time.
About Santa Claus? I believed in Santa for a few years I guess. In fact, I would preserve my broken tooth in a cotton dab for months because I thought that the Tooth Fairy came only on the night of Christmas Eve to give pretty presents in exchange for a broken tooth. On 24th December, I would keep that tooth under my pillow, say a few cute little prayers, wish for toys and chocolates and games and sleep in anticipation. In the mornings when I would get up, I would never find anything but I still believed that someday Santa and the fairy would come my way and give me all the gifts I wanted. Sometimes, I even wondered if I was supposed to be born a Christian to catch Santa’s attention. That was Christmas, once upon a time.
Last year on this day, I went out with my two best friends; the three of us on one bike. I wanted to be at a Church at midnight when the clock strikes 12. We stood there in the mass as Father briefed on numerous teachings of the Bible. We were surrounded by beautiful people: blacks, mixed and white; all dressed perfectly for the occasion (except for us. We looked half asleep, wearing a boring set of clothes and a jacket). That was the first time we saw how people prayed as they waited Christmas to begin. We thanked God; we apologized to him; we prayed for ourselves; we prayed for others and every now and then we would open our eyes, look at each other and smile. As Christmas took over, everybody in the Church embraced their family and friends and let out wholehearted Christmas wishes. We were overwhelmed to see the joy that bejeweled the atmosphere. We didn’t really party or dance or go crazy. We just sat on that bike again, the three of us and rode back home, eating an ice-cream on the way, wearing Santa caps, singing a few songs, laughing and smiling (and wondering why there was no cake at the Church haha).
I guess that’s what Christmas is now: Togetherness!
Merry Christmas friends and a very Happy New Year! Spread love and radiance because that’s what rallies around the spirit of this festival. My sincere heartfelt wishes to everyone out there 🙂
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.