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Christmas Memories
by Maria Franco
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“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 1

Christmas - This magical word itself stands for a host of expressions.

At Christmas, we recall the birth of the Savior on this earth at the promised time as foretold by Isaiah 7:14 that a maiden will bear a child and He will be called Emmanuel. It also predicts that the daughter of Jerusalem can now shout for joy in anticipation of the coming of our Lord.
Christmas is also synonymous with all the delightful celebrations that we associate with to express the happiness of the birthday of Christ.
The Christmas tree in full décor complete with shining lights to reflect the light shining in our own hearts as all darkness is lifted with the coming of Christ- The True light of our hearts.
Presents under the Christmas tree symbolize the precious gift of salvation that is given to us by the arrival of the messiah in the world.
The Santa Claus jingling around is a tribute to St. Nicholas who went around distributing presents to poor children at Christmas time.
Of course, the highest favor is upon the crib, a replica of the holy stable in Bethlehem which stands out in our homes.

The wintry cold feeling, the chimney now present day Santa’s mode of transport into the house to secretly place the gifts under the glittering tree, the mistletoe kiss, the snowman, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and the drummer boy are all
the accessories of the season.
Though it is the privilege of ‘The First Noel’ to take over and rule over this time. The Christmas carols that sends our own hearts rejoicing as we sing ‘Silent Night’, ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’, ‘The Three Wise Kings of Orient’ & ‘Emmanuel’.
We cannot forget Jim Reeves crooning his popular, soul lilting carols like ‘An Old Christmas Card’, ‘Silver Bells’, ‘A White Christmas’ & ‘Blue Christmas’. In fact, I first learnt the word ‘reminiscing’ after listening to his songs. Sometimes, I think his sentimentalism has rubbed off onto me. I also recall a very upbeat song ‘Last Christmas’ which happens to be everyone’s favorite.

December has always been my best time of the year. The Christmas month is the crescendo of all the months of the year. It immediately transports me back to my childhood days. I remember how I used to be fascinated with all the Christmas Stars adorned outside homes, the delight in putting up the tree, the real Christmas tree which stood in front of my residence and was decorated at this time for the jubilant annual Christmas tree party in our locality, the carol singing, the anticipation of the midnight service in Church, the life size crib that stood outside the Church, the Nativity scene enacted at Sunday school, relishing all the Christmas sweets and cuisine in traditional style, Christmas wine in seasonal measure, visiting relatives, exchange of Christmas hampers among friends and neighbors. It was pure heaven just to be in this wonderful season, participate in the Christmas activities and the trill of sending and receiving Christmas cards which made us feel loved and remembered. Though the main event which surpassed all was the careful preparation of the crib in one’s home to re-live Bethlehem.

On Christmas day, I had to play ‘Feliz Navidad’ in full blast in keeping with the tempo of my own Christmas mood. Though of course, the most touching song of this season was a special Christmas number that we used to play in Church; “Jesus, what can I give you for Christmas, I know what you are needing today. Please take my heart this Christmas day.”
This should be the highlight that the special birthday person should be present at his birthday feast and celebration, the welcome guest not just in our homes but in our hearts as well. In fact, I used to keep the crib up at my home long after the Christmas season was over as I somehow could not bring myself to pack the crib away. I still follow this rule till date.
The famous story ‘A Christmas Carol’ written by Charles Dickens is an excellent example on how to spread the spirit of Christmas in true manner. To be there for the other whether far or near in mind, heart and soul.

These are the thoughts that make our Christmas. The remembrance of family members who now celebrate Christmas in heaven with the Lord himself. Perhaps, the special Invitees on God’s list for His birthday celebration in the heavenly venue.
The Christmas season also holds a special place in my heart on account of my own beautiful Christmas memories that I have cherished, the special touch that this season has added in my life, the ardent colors that this favorable time has painted on the canvas of my heart. The Christmas Nostalgia of precious meetings with loved ones.
This year I will miss home tremendously but sometimes circumstances are beyond our control but I know my heart will be in the flame of the candle lit by my loved ones back home. My joy will be in their joyful celebrations, my thoughts in the Christmas bells that ring out and my prayers in the Christmas holly that decks our hearts filled with love and reminisces.

These are the Christmas Memories that I hold very dear and which will always be a part of Christmas forever to me.

Maria Franco

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