Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My 30th Christmas

More than 15 years ago I cut this picture of good old Santa from an old magazine and stuck it behind my childhood bedroom door and there it has remained. I looked at this cutout everyday while I opened and closed the door. It serves as a reminder that Christmas is on its way and it gives me hope that Christmas will be here before I even know it... I usually get a little annoyed with this little cutout about March and then again in the following months especially when there are no more celebrations around the corner but its a good cutout and I love it to bits.

Anyways, Christmas tends to creep up on me and then escapes me as suddenly as it arrives so much so that in about 3 hours and 25 minutes time {according to my clock now as I type} Christmas 2012 would have officially ended. To a certain extent, I feel like it never even happened. The happy wreath I hung on my front door fell about a week ago and no effort was made to hang it up again and so it sits forlornly on the shoe cabinet ready to be put away for another year. There are several Christmas wrappers and handmade gift tags lying around but for the most part, Christmas has come and gone yet again.

So what was my 30th Christmas like this year you wonder... its hard for me to describe what it feels like to be honest. There is that ever present excitement that Christmas brings. The Christmas carols, the gorgeous decorations, the pretty presents, the awesome packaging... how can one not feel excited? But yet I feel that as each year passes and the prettier the decorations get, the true Spirit of Christmas is lost. I am indeed blessed to have spent more time with my family this year and to share Ethan's {my nephew and god sons} first Christmas with him. Usually I spend the day with friends but they have opted to have their own arrangements this year. Yup, the changes are apparent in the way we celebrate this special day and I am honestly not too thrilled about it but changes come, its only natural isn't it?

The one constant I am still thankful for is Christmas Eve mass. It is the one shining beacon of Christmas for me. It's what I have come to relate Christmas with. Not the presents. Not the decorations. Not the merriment but the Christmas Eve mass. I remember Christmas Eve masses of yesteryear and I smile because they were always wonderfully magical to me. I also remember the performances I participated in for two years ~ once in an ensemble and once in one of the lead roles {I was a wise man} in a Christmas play titled "Three Wise Men and A Baby" {if I recall}. The smell of incense, the beautiful vestments and the grandness of mass will always amaze me. And this year, it is no different.

Daves and B joined me for Christmas Eve mass. We managed to get a seat by the side but in the first pew. It was good to see everything up close and be in the church for the mass. The choir was lovely though I don't quite appreciate it when they start singing in Latin ~ sure we should technically be learning it but since 90% of the congregation knows nuts about what the words mean, it would have been better to have had it all in English. My five cents anyways. Anyways, back to the awesome bit... as I knelt down to pray after receiving communion, I had a vision in my mind of those dearly departed at Our Lady's grotto. There was candlelight illuminating them as they stood there. Some faces were clear as day and some were in shadows but I knew who they were. They were smiling. They were happy and I was at peace. My eyes misted over and my heart wanted to burst and I wanted to reach out to them to touch them but just as soon as the vision came, it departed... but the feeling of that happiness, that joy remained. That my dear readers is what I remember and treasure most this Christmas. That simple vision of hope and joy. 

Today I went to my parents house to open presents with Ethan. It's lovely to see a Christmas corner in my home. After that, my parents, B and I went to visit my aunt who is sick with cancer. I felt so helpless and I didn't know what to do but offer up a prayer for her that she doesn't suffer. Then I went for a Christmas tea with my extended family and it was good to see all of them ~ there have been births, deaths and sickness in our family this year and its sad to remember the ones who have already left us but we remain hopeful that we will see them all again one day. After the tea, there was nothing much else to do so here I am writing this post to you after playing several games of Zuma and chatting online. There is a severe lack of activities this Christmas and I want to feel angry but I feel indifferent instead {I find it strange though that my non-Christian friends have more fun then I do}. Perhaps it is best this way instead, being here with my thoughts on this one special day. If I had wanted more fun, I should just have planned and sorted it all out in the beginning instead of waiting.

So really my dear readers, it's not the gifts that I received {though I am happy that people still want to buy me presents}, neither is it the decorations in the malls {most of which I have not been to unlike previous years where it was a must to visit every other shopping mall} or the Christmas shopping {which I used to love to do but which I completed in under 3 hours this year}. It is neither the fancy food that we had {some food was super yums}, the new glittery gold shoes I used for Christmas Eve mass or the messages received via SMS or whatsapp or on FB. It was just that one moment in church on the 24th of December that was Christmas for me... that moment when my heart wanted to burst with hope and joy and I pray that that moment will live in me for some time to come.

And yes, its been ten years and the memories are still fresh. The empty cavity in my heart still remains empty as I believe it will for years to come but I remembered you for a moment, said a prayer. I hope my thoughts reach you.

So yes... another Christmas come and gone. No carols in the background, no Christmas tree in the foreground, no BEC Christmas party, no Christmas carolling, a solitary Christmas card by a company whose products are overpriced and which I have never bought before and Bruce Springsteen's 'Secret Garden' playing in the background, home before 7pm... It sure has been a quite an un-Christmasy Christmas to be honest, but no matter... I have come to accept things as they are.
Christmas lives in my heart.

Happy Blessed Christmas everyone!
*God bless*

Read more about my other Christmases here, here and here.

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