For two weeks, Christmas music has made me weepy. Christmas is BY FAR my favorite time of the year. Why then is Jingle Bells reducing me to sniffles? One phone conversation with my brother detailing my family’s holiday activities clarified my weepy demeanor: Varun and I lack Christmas traditions. Because we have lived far away from family, we’ve always traveled on the holidays and not created our own Christmas traditions. This, I’m realizing, is part of living in a multi-cultural family: the loss, creation, and continuation of traditions.(Actually, this happens in any marriage. I’d guess it’s protracted in a multi-cultural marriage with two vastly different religious backgrounds).
I was feeling sad and nostalgic because Varun wasn’t jumping on the Christmas bandwagon. DUH. The man didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas and enjoys goofing the words of Carols . He just doesn’t get emotional about Christmas. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and develop family traditions that I love and enjoy and that we can share as a family. The first order of business was the Christmas tree.
I had an elaborate plan that involved Bailey’s and hot chocolate, a Christmas tree farm and us. Unfortunately, Varun had a terrible cold and we are running out of free afternoons. While buying groceries this Saturday Vasudha and I found the solution: pre-wrapped Christmas trees in the Food Basics parking lot: $20. For a moment, all I could hear was the voices of my past shouting in indignation at this flagrant disregard for All That Is Right And Christmasy. And then I thought, “Ya know what? This is our Christmas tradition. This is a No Stress, No Guilt Zone”. So I bought it, we stuck it out the side window of the car, and drove home.
I forgot to mention. Last year we almost got a tree. Until we saw a posted notice in our (old) building that warned us that Christmas trees were forbidden because they are ( if you leave candles and lights and kerosene on them) a fire hazard. We considered smuggling, but the trail of needles leading to our door would have been a dead giveaway. Therefore, for our third Christmas as a married couple, we are proud to present, our First Christmas Tree.
Thankfully, our neighbor-friends-teammates lent us a Christmas tree stand.
Apparently, trees sold at Grocery stores are wrapped extremely tightly. Ours is still opening up…
But you know what made it sink in that it’s actually Christmas? Hearing the first Advent reading at Church today, from the Gospel of Luke. More than the lights and cookies and tree and awesomeness that is Christmas, our most important, shared experience is celebrating the birth of Jesus.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God iwill give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
What are you looking forward to? How do you prepare for and celebrate Christmas? And the answer to the age-old question, when do you start listening to Christmas music?