How we celebrated Christmas- the true meaning of X’mas

In the first week of December, we had had the tree put up and my daughter and her friends took turns decorating the tree. For about 3 weeks now, our house has looked festive. The curtains which were red and white seemed particularly suited for the festivities.

We don’t do much food on X’mas- for the simple reason that our family is small and we live in a country where we do not have relatives who would come calling for X’mas- X’mas is a working day, where we live.

But we did manage to celebrate in our own small way. For the season is one of giving and that is what I want my daughter to remember of this X’mas, just two years before she would be moving out into the world, leaving me all alone.

I managed to buy quite a few gifts for children who live around us- people of many nationalities- Sudanese, Egyptians, Russians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Tunisians, Sri Lankans- all my daughter’s friends and acquaintances. My daughter managed to make friends with all these children, despite not knowing any language but her own, when she first came to this place as a 6 year old. Now she is 15 and all these children are her friends and they consider our home, their own home- a place to come when they need to play in peace, especially during the harsh summers we have here. How rightly has it been said, that children do not need any language to communicate with one another- all they need is a smile and a friendly heart- both things which we adults need to learn from them or learn not to lose as we grow up.

We had a party last night for all these children- we managed to have food for all the different children- food they were familiar with and the wonder and awe on their faces as they saw the lit X’mas tree was a sight to behold.

Today they came back in the morning to look at their gifts, for my daughter had arranged gifts for each of her friends around the tree and their yells of happiness as they opened their gifts- words cannot describe.

Our breakfast and lunch were simple but our hearts were full because of the feelings of togetherness we had with the community who lived around us- our friends in a strange land- our family in a foreign country.

The true spirit of X’mas lies in giving- freely and with open hearts, minds and hands.

A week of rejections

After a hectic two months’ of work, we have finally broken for the Winter holidays. God knows, I need this break. It is a luxury for me to be able to laze in bed till 6 am or thereabouts and get up leisurely to do my housewifely chores- chores that had been left undone for about 8 weeks, plants untended to, house to be set in order, laundry to be sorted out or to put in washing and all the other mundane tasks that I had conveniently forgotten in my mad rush to get to my job every day.

I like the job- it gives me a little of the intellectual stimulation I was looking for and some peace of mind. I liked being a full time homemaker too. God knows what I am- an ambitious career person or a homebody?

i heard a motivational speech last week about giving honour to people. Give honour to all manner of people and the honour will come back to you, thus said the speaker. I decided to practice this in my life, with almost similar results.

There is a writing course in which I was enrolled, and in the discussion forums of which I commented, praising and “honouring” someone’s else’s writing. The writer replied in curt terms, which really hurt my feelings. Then another writer asked for comments on his writing and I did comment, on it only to get another short reply saying, he wanted feedback only after the deadline passed. ( Such comments would adversely affect his grade!)- so there was another snub.

i had a war of written words with a lady, who had not been regular with her writing payments. Harsh words were exchanged and at the end of the argument, we found, nobody won. Another wasted effort of honouring someone, who had actually been one of my first clients and for which I am immensely grateful. I regret the harsh words I wrote to her and wish I hadn’t.

I was out for some Christmas shopping yesterday and a checkout girl spoke rudely to me- it was rather a new experience for me. The incident rankles still and I keep wondering why it happened to me.

And finally today, I got a letter saying my application for a promotion in my writing job was being rejected because of adverse comments written by a client about my writing. So much for that !

Whew ! Feel better when I wrote and aired it all out. Hopefully I can heal now.

What did I learn from these incidents ?

I cannot understand why they happened to me or why I behaved the way I did.

I am reminded of the words of the same motivational speaker who said, various people are put in one’s life for a purpose- they are like sandpaper, which smoothens out the rough edges of one’s personality.

Today I cannot see the purpose of these people and incidents in my life, but perhaps a time will come when I am grateful for them and what they have taught me.

For now, it is Christmas time, the time of loving and giving.

Merry X’mas everyone !

Perspective – Grace Amid the Chaos

A good blog post about the Christmas spirit !


(This photo is terrific used as desktop wallpaper)

Christmas day is a week away. If you are like me, most of your shopping is complete, but perhaps you also suffer from the disease that takes hold of me at this time of year, “The Second-Guessing of Gift Choices,” disease.

“Will so-and-so like this color? Will this gift seem too thoughtless? Should I have given a ‘real’ gift instead of a gift card?”

I’m sorry to say that sometimes I give into the agonizing thoughts and run out to buy “Just One More Perfect Thing!”

This is the time of year when it is hard to maintain a gracious demeanor and mindset: terrible traffic, lack of parking spaces, rude and pushy shoppers, endless spending, too many cookies to bake, too many cookies begging you to eat them. (Did you know home-baked cookies are delicious even when eaten right out of the freezer?) This…

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