At this time of the year, many folk are asking “Do you like Christmas?”
I ask this of others too.
I wonder what they like and why.
I wonder what I like and why.
As a child I really looked forward to Christmas. It was the only time of the year when we received gifts. We had cards and some small gift for our birthday, but at Christmas, we got everything we would need for the year – new coat, school shoes and uniform, clothes, bubble-bath and those exciting extras, like colouring book, puzzle, felt-tips, an annual, a story book, maybe something to make or do – a spirograph, a soap-making, or candle-making kit, a sugar mouse… and a selection box. Traditionally, there was always an orange and a handful of nuts in shells in the bottom of the pillow-case too.
What was not to like?
Mammy was also home from work for a few days; the tree was taken out and decorated; Mammy had long since made a Christmas cake and all the treats and extra special food was in store.
Weeks in advance we had prepared the cake, mixed the fruit, soaked in the brandy, rolled out the almond paste, iced the snow-scene, and greeted all our little Christmas friends who played on the cake for another season…
The side-board was smiling proud with the tree in the centre, flanked by the cake and a selection of festive tipples – advocat, beer, QC sherry, cherry B and Babycham…
On Christmas morning, we would wake in the dark to feel if Santa had been, and left a pillow case at the foot of the bed. Whispering our anticipation, dragging the bag up and feeling the shapes of parcels, guessing what they contained.
Soon we would join Mammy in the kitchen to roll out the prepared flakey pastry for sausage rolls and mince-pies to gurgle in the oven before the trussed bird took up all the space…
Then we would open our presents in earnest…
Did I like it as a child?
Of course I did.
Do I like it now?
I don’t know.
I like the opportunity to celebrate with my beloveds – especially my grand-children and I love the memories of how special my Mammy made it for us children, despite the hardships. Hardships were forgotten for Christmas day.
Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is LIKE.
As a child I didn’t know Jesus, though I knew Christmas was a celebration of His birth. Now Jesus is my Lord and my friend, my teacher, healer and my Saviour.
Today I celebrate the mystery of God’s love at Christmas – that God should enter the world as flesh, become one like us, so that we can become one with Him.
What’s not to celebrate? What’s not to like?
This year I want to choose to intentionally celebrate all that is good about Christmas, and not get sucked into the empty commercialism and stress of expectation. ]It is a season of hope and joy and peace to all men and women of goodwill.
Let that be our focus as we make special moments and memories with our loved ones and remember that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
So I ask you: Do you like Christmas?
What do you not like?
What might you do more intentionally this year?