Don’t know if you realized that I seldom blog about Christmas food. You might think I am a bit a of scrooge, but Christmas for me has never been about roast turkeys and ham or egg nog or fruitcakes.
When I was growing up, Christmas was just another holiday where I got to watch great shows on TV. Santas, Christmas trees and chestnuts roasting over an open fire were something that Ang Moh people did on TV and had nothing to do with me. There were no presents on Christmas day, no gathering of family or friends and no celebrations. After all, what was there to celebrate? It’s just a day that is a week away from the New Year. Now, New Year celebrations, that I understand.
I became a Christian at 13. That certainly did not mean that I started doing all the Chrismassy things! That kind of thing is hard to do when the rest of the family are not Christians. It was, certainly, a day of deep religious meaning for me. Christmas was a day I attended church and sing hymns to commemorate the Savior’s birth. It was a day to thank God for his gift of his Son.
The Christmas Turkey and gift exchange only came about when I got to know my girlfriend (now my wife), Rockettgirl. She grew up with a family who celebrated Christmas, though at the time, they too were not Christians. Somehow though, they get caught up with all the Christmassy things like having a Christmas tree with lights and dangling things complete with cotton wool simulated snow. They gave gifts to each other and had Christmas get-togethers. One of the aunties was Catholic, so that probably had some sort of influence on their Christmas celebrations.
Nowadays, we do celebrate Christmas, but it is still my wife who does all the planning. She is the one who gets the Christmas Tree and decorations up and buys presents for all the cousins and friends. Me, I still prefer a Christmas without the trimmings. If I had my way, I would rather have roast duck instead of roast turkey and Sio bak (roast pork) instead of ham. After all, the Italians eat antipasti, lasagne and braised beef for Christmas, so I don’t see why we have to have Turkey and ham which is really an American tradition.
The thing that makes Christmas meaningful for me is the gathering of family and friends and especially with those who share the faith. There is something that touches me deep within when I gather with other Christians to share about the wonderful things the Lord has done in our lives. That sharing would invariably lead to thanksgiving which leads to worship. And worship is what gives meaning to Christmas. To worship is to be in that state of awe of something or someone so wonderful that for that instance, you are fully surrendered to its presence. I guess that is what I seek for during Christmas. To enter yet again to that sense of wonderment of Jesus. Of how God could become flesh and made his dwelling among us. The words of Mary, the mother of Jesus speaks of the yearning of my soul:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. Luke: 1: 47-49