Christmas is Coming
Christ is still in Christmas
Have you ever heard the term "Cristes Maesse"? It is an old English term which mean Christ's Mass. As you might guess, a mass is held to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. The actually date of the birth is not known but has its origin around the Roman Saturnalia festival that happened in December. The date of December 25th begin to slowly taken on acceptance, and many people, traditions, cultures, and customs created the atmosphere we now know.
There are many people and cultures that do not celebrate the birth of Chirst because it is not part of either their tradition or their custom. However, Christ is still in Christmas for me, and for many others. As you will see later in this article there are many things that can make the holiday season special.
Oh My God It's Christmas
One of my favorite writers is Robert Fulghum who is the author of such books as “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” and “Maybe (Maybe Not)” and many others. I can sit down with a Robert Fulghum book and laugh, cry, and put it down feeling happy and inspired. “Maybe (Maybe Not)” is where these next quotes comes from.
“OH MY GOD IT’S CHRISTMAS”…“Jeezus Christ, here comes Christmas again”…..”what-are-we-going-to-do-about-Christmas” discussion--the exasperating one that leads to deep sighs and the making of long list of people and long lists of things to buy and long lists of things to do as soon as possible even though soon is not so possible. Christmas is a crisis.”
I went back in my memories to my childhood. We didn't always have much money. But, Christmas was filled with activities---that was filled with love. I never remember stress. I never remember my mother complaining about too much to do. She enjoyed this holiday, and taught us its true meaning.
The Time to be Still
Does any of this sound familiar? There are some who have all their shopping done by October, I’ve done that a time or two, but many more of us are scrambling to get it all done at the last minute. As much fun as it can be it, very often, causes us a tad of stress.
Listen to something else Mr. Fulghum says. “We are still influenced by the memory of being in New Mexico for part of the holiday season...we passed through the little tourist town of Taos, which is geared up for the maximum level of kitschy consumerism, and drove farther up the road to the Taos Indian Pueblo. Peace and quiet reigned there. The time from December 15 to January 15 is observed as “The time of being still.” The pueblo is closed to tourists and all commercial activity for a month.
Can you imagine? Closed? No shopping? No hustle or bustle? No gifts or gift-wrapping? OH NO! NO SANTA? Well, that is exactly what Mr. Fulghum and his wife did or did not do. They told their friends and family “take the time you might have spent shopping for us and be still a little yourself.” They took the money they would have spent and gave it to a good cause.
With Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day just hours away, it may be a little late for most of us but I’ll bet we could decide to take a few minutes to observe a “time of being still”. To reflect on the journey we’ve just made and look to the future and what we want to make of it. We can look back on the milestones of the last year, on those things we didn’t quite get around to, and on those defining moments we experienced. As we look back, we can then begin to set goals for our coming year…not resolutions…goals. Resolutions are very often broken and forgotten, but goals we write and we work at and we rewrite but we work on them.
I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas. I remember:
- The smell of the tree, and how it looked--so big and beautiful. It was filled with lights, and colorful ornaments. Many of the ornaments were homemade which is something my mother insisted on. It was always fun, but as I grew older also very meaningful.
- Putting up the decorations. We put something in every room of the house. This is something I still do.
- The way the house would always smell. My mother was constantly baking and cooking, for us and, for people in the community who were either alone, or didn't have much family.
- The excitement my sister and I felt helping mom cook and bake.
- Having dinner by the tree several times during December. I still remember some of the stories we told.
Mostly, I remember my mother's smile, and her voice as she sang to us. And every night she would read to us, or tell us stories from her childhood.
What Child is This
And most importantly let’s really reflect on the reason for the season.
“…And, she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 7-11 - KJV
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “What Child Is This? It was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix. It is said that he wrote this and several other hymns during a time when he was very sick and very depressed. However, writing gave him hope and I would imagine peace. That is what I feel whenever I hear the song or read the words. Take a listen (imagine you are listening)…
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
I still, to this day, remember how I felt the first time I heard this song. I was 17 years old, and here I am 40-years later and it still stirs in my soul.
There are several renditions on various Christmas CD’s on the market in every genre of music--country, gospel, opera, pop, rock, etc. Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli have a beautiful presentation of this classic song on Andrea‘s “My Christmas“ CD. Other singers such as Carrie Underwood, Jessica Simpson and Josh Groban all have albums/CD that contains a rendition of the beautiful song. I really believe that you will feel a little more at peace after listening.
What are some of your Traditions and Memories
What is you favorite Christmas song or carol?
Have any of your traditions changed over the years?
What are some of your fondest memories--as a child--as an adult?
Do you still wake up on Christmas morning and rush to the tree?
Do you have a favorite food, or recipe?
Not everyone celebrate Christmas. We each have different customs, cultures, traditions, and beliefs. Let's please be mindful, and respectful of each other. If we learn to do that, I believe, we can bring more peace, joy, and hope to the world.
Whatever your beliefs and customs are, I invite you to join me in a “time of being still”. Then let’s make each other a promise to make a “time of being still” a little longer next year.
I wish each of you peace, joy, happiness and a Merry, Merry Christmas, and a holiday season filled with miracles and blessing.
Love to all,
Dee (aka Nonna)
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