Season's greetings to the readers of my blog. I hope you had a holy and joyous Christmas. This was my first Christmas away from home. I missed my family and my village. But thanks to the Altmans who had me over for Christmas, I didn't really feel alone. I had a chance to celebrate Christmas the American way.
The preparations and fun start weeks before Christmas day. The church marks the four Sunday's before Christmas as Advent Sundays. Advent is time when we prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas. I went to Ben's house on the Saturday preceding the third Sunday of Advent. They had the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath followed by prayers and dinner.
Then there is the tradition of carol singing. I joined the Newman Center Young Adults group for a night of caroling. And what a contrast it was to carol singing in Goa. Here we went to people's home in cars rather than on foot as a group. People gave us cookies and other treats and even beer as compared to money back home. The homes were informed well in advance about our arrival in contrast to caroling in Goa where kids sing loudly in front of homes till someone shows up. But the spirit is the same, to spread the joy of Christmas. And I am sure our visit meant a lot to senior citizens living alone. One gentleman said he didn't feel it was Christmas until we came caroling to his house. For one 98 year old lady it was the 1st time someone had come to sing carols at her home. It refreshed memories for the old people. I love Christmas carols. All the carols that talk about snow and winter stuff make so much sense here! You should definitely listen to O' Come All Ye Faithful performed by Celtic Woman
I like the festive look that comes with Christmas. The homes, shops and streets are decorated and well lit. You hear Carols in shops and on radio stations. Stores are stacked with Christmas gifts and decorations. I think Christmas has become so commercialized, loud and bright that some people have forgotten that Christ was born in a quiet humble manger. So it was good to be out of the city for Christmas.
Soon it was Christmas eve. I was at Ben's house. We decorated the tree and put some lights. We had a delicious traditional Christmas eve dinner prepared by Ben's mom. The table was lit by the Christmas candle. And it was snowing outside. It was truly amazing! We went for a midnight service at a church in Chaska. We celebrated the birth of Jesus one more time. Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Christmas day was spent at Mrs. Altman's parent's house. It was a traditional Christmas celebration with a family get together for lunch, opening of gifts and games. The wonderful day was capped by a wonderful movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Its a classic movie and a must watch around Christmas time.
'Something about Christmas time, makes me wish it was Christmas everyday' goes the song by Bryan Adams. Looking forward to the next Christmas. 362 days to go...
Happy new year 2010!