Christmas

I did say that Christmas dies a little every year. It fizzles out like the golden spittle at the end of a sparkler. You really don’t want the brilliance to end but it does -and you’re left with a smoldering grey stick.

I remember the sheer enthusiasm I had for decorating the Christmas tree with some hand-me-down tinsel and baubles, hiding presents and cards in the branches and leaves of plastic. I remember the glittery star I had picked from some antique store, and how my mouth watered at the sight of new boxes of chocolates stacked on top of each other. I snaked the coloured Christmas lights around the tree and turned the lights off in the house just to admire the different light-flashing settings. I remember seeing my dad sneak into my room with a present in hand and waking up early in the morning, still overjoyed at the fact that my stockings were filled. The mornings resonated with Christmas songs from an old tape:
…three french hens two turtle doves… hosanna in excelsis… GloooOooOooria… and shivers accompanied each step out of the house. I used to bake mince pies with my Grandmother and standby looking expectantly into the oven as the pastry turned golden. I would force my parents to try them and they’d always say they tasted better than they did. My dad taught me how to make chocolate fondue (by melting chocolate in a bowl placed in hot water) and dipped strawberries in it, realizing too late that the chocolate hardened much too quickly. My grandmother and I shaped coloured icing into snowmen and mistletoe and decorated a rich fruitcake. My family crowded around the table to exchange gifts and we pulled crackers and popped party poppers, releasing streams of confetti down and into our shoes by the door. We lit candles and my brother and I played with the flames, watching them lick the edges of paper and eat at toothpicks. And of course, there were the sparklers. They were always a treat.

I just don’t enjoy Christmas the way I used to. My siblings and I go on our separate laptops and the dinner table is quiet for the most part. Everything is rose tinted when you’re a child. But I guess that’s besides the point. It’s great that Christmas is a time for families to come together and enjoy good food but it’s Jesus’ birthday and not any random holiday for me and my family. It’s strange to think how Christmas has been commercialized into a holiday that people no longer associate with Christ, and even weirder to think how an old guy with a beard became such an integral part of Christmas. Beats me.

If anything, I am thankful for the reminder that He is my saviour, no matter the circumstance. He is my family, no matter the distance I feel to my own sometimes. And that hope is something that cannot be easily extinguished.

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