Day Twenty-Eight: A Humble Epiphany

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Epiphany. It’s long history and mixed significance is a reminder of the changes and divisions the church has faced over the centuries.

Aramaic New Testament. (2013)

When I was little, it was a reminder that Christmas was over and the decoration has to be brought down. It was also the one day in the year we sang the hymn ‘We Three Kings’. Today when I think of the feast of the Epiphany, the stark contrast between being rich and poor stands out like the northern star in the night sky.

The story may be a hot topic for debate, it may also seem fairy-tale like or may lack authenticity in many ways but its crux is something to think about. Three kings traveled to greet a baby with gifts fit for a prince? The baby was born in a manger and said to be the son of a carpenter? But hang on, he is also supposed to be the Son of God.

If Jesus were to be born today I’m sure we would have Obama asking his secretary to send a formal greeting and perhaps the Queen of England would do the same. Come to think of it, I highly doubt the Pope would make an appearance. The birth of another royal baby or perhaps Brangelina  extending their family would gain more attention.

But no, no that is not the point I am trying to emphasize here. What I am trying to wrap my mind around here is the theme which focuses on humility. Three kings visiting a poor little baby who lived with livestock highlights the humble nature of these rulers.

It also goes on to make me think that one of the most important factors in life is humility. It doesn’t matter who the other person is, what they are like or where they are from. As humans we must keep an open heart and an open mind.

If the kings had to judge the baby based on the possessions he had at that point of time, the child would have probably been sidelined. Then when the truth would be revealed, the kings would probably go, “Crap! That kid was truly a king. Why were we so shallow to judge him the way we did?” But then of course it would be too late.

This New Year if we are looking to improve ourselves, I would consider being more humble. Live with an open mind and an open heart. What is the worst that could possibly happen? Imagine the surprises that would come your way though!

A very happy feast to all those who celebrate the Epiphany. May your celebrations not only expand your bellies but also your minds.

Day Twenty-One: The Christmas That Was

Mainstream Christmas festivities have always been synonymous with family and having it any other way would come across as odd, unfortunate and sometimes even unacceptable. But the irony of the season could not be more obvious. How many of us really want to spend Christmas with our extended families which we so painstakingly avoid for the rest of the year?

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A fraction of you may disagree with what I am about to say but the truth is most of us would love the opportunity to celebrate Christmas the way “we” think it ought to be celebrated. That can be anything from a family BBQ to a holiday in Istanbul to a quiet day in bed. However, not everyone of us can live the dream thanks to family commitments and sparing other’s feelings.

But I – after years of dealing with extended families and depressing gatherings – finally got to spend Christmas the way I wanted to and it was indeed the most wonderful time of the year. The morning was sunny and beautiful which enticed me to visit the park with a book and some coffee. After more than an hour of reading I lay in the grass with headphones shoved in my ears.

The warm sun brightened the white cotton clouds and added life to the green grass. The cool breeze got the branches above me to play peek-a-boo with he sun. The birds chirped and the dogs played while I lay in my beautiful grassy bed listening to Michael Bublé telling me to have a Merry Little Christmas. When I began to get hungry, I finally decided to head back home and into the kitchen where I cooked up a delicious tortellini pasta meal.

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To keep the the Christmas atmosphere strong, I decided to watch a Christmas movie followed by some new Christmas songs that I generally did not listen to. I then decided to end the day with stir-fried chicken with bachamel sauce mixed with mushroom, corn and rice. Before crashing in for the night I happened to be browsing the internet in search of articles that spoke about the ways in which people spent Christmas alone. What I found was an interesting list of things to do if you did spend Christmas alone. What was even more interesting was that I actually had done a few things on that list which made me feel quite accomplished.

I sat up reviewing my Christmas Day and it was a good feeling to know that I spent it the way I wanted to. Like I have mentioned previously, Christmas is all about the simplicity. However, mainstream Christmas celebrations are grand, sophisticated and mostly expensive occasions that revolve around materialistic pleasures coupled with the mandatory requirement for fantastic acting skills. My Christmas this time was one that made me realize that the park and all that came along with it was enough to light the Christmas Spirit within me.

To conclude, I would like to say that this Christmas was not just a fun day but also one filled with inspiration and hope. I saw things from a different perspective which has led me to focus on the New Year and new experiences that I can’t wait to be part of.

Day Twenty: My 2014 Christmas Hits

The top six songs that rocked my Christmas in no particular order…..

 1] This reminds me of shopping all the way!!!

2] Pure drunken happiness and laughter….

3] Think lazy afternoon (at home) or romantic evening (at the beach)

4] Oooooo that beautiful Irish accent!

5] This is AN AWESOME MIX!!!!!!

6] Hit PLAY and prance around the house

Day Twelve: Christmas With Júlio César

Júlio César was cleaning his paw after his last nail had been neatly trimmed and filed while his mate Jack Sparrow had just received a mid-morning snack. Júlio was lolling about when he spotted the cat who was grumpier than the Grumpy Cat that day. Júlio cocked his head up as Jack Sparrow approached him. “What are you so happy about today?” asked the irritated cat.

“What is not to be happy about?” replied Júlio. “It is Christmas time a.k.a unlimited favorite foods, someone is always around unlike other days where you spend the mornings counting crows, now you get to eat, play and have someone give you a good belly rub when you need one.”

“No one cares you stupid old dog. All that matters to them is their presents and food.” whined the cat. “Haven’t you noticed that you are out almost the entire day and you cannot sit on the couch anymore? Their couch is more important to them than your comfort.”

Hearing this, Júlio stood up and shook the dirt off his back. He then asked Jack Sparrow to follow him to the garage. As they walked towards the door the cat continued to grumble about how the holiday was a crappy time because the humans seem to pay less attention to him and shooed him away from the beautifully decorated house and to cut a long story short; they didn’t care enough. The garage door was ajar and the bulb was still left on.

Júlio shoved the cat in and followed him. Around them were boxes of decoration, gifts and food. The cat smelt a range of aromas and tried to follow his nose to the prize but the dog was quick to divert his attention. He pointed out to a box in the corner which had a big chew bone, a squeaky toy, three cat teasers and a brand new scratching post apart from treats for both Júlio César and Jack Sparrow.

The dog turned to the cat and said, “Do you see all that there? That is for you, me and maybe the shelter. Shows how much they don’t care right?” The cat was scanning the box and finally replied, “That box means nothing. So they bought some stuff for us. How does that make a difference? We have been abandoned out here while they are in there.”

“You sure know how to bring pessimism into a room; don’t you?” said the dog. The cat ignored the growl and continued, “You are a fool…..”

“Oh shut your mouth doofus” said Júlio César. “Any human who takes the trouble to make sure you have a special Christmas meal and presents under the tree on Christmas Day cares enough about you. Did you see the lady of the house cleaning your pillow and my house? Did you see her hang our stockings on the tree? And you say they don’t care enough. If only you knew better….”

How often we ignore the little things that others do for us. It may not be much but they do it anyway because they genuinely care about us. This Christmas let us make it a point to recognize these little acts that otherwise go unnoticed. We are so used to comfort that we forget how important the simple things are. I’m sure Jack Sparrow would prefer a clean pillow and a new scratching post to the old and dirty stuff, don’t you think so too?

Day Eleven: My Christmas Symbols

What is Christmas without its symbols? The colours of Christmas; do they mean anything to you? Or is it just a visual representation of the season? Today as I wandered about in the mall I realized that the decor around me meant more than just the usual “oh-goody-Christmas-is-here” feeling. The happiness and music in the air egged me on to write about this. It is important to remember that Christmas is so much more than a commercial holiday; it is about family, love, laughter and new beginnings. For today’s post I have decided to pick three symbols that I can relate to.

STAR

It reminds us that in the darkness of life there is still a glimmer of light – a hope for something better; perhaps a brighter tomorrow.

BELLS

When I see bells I imagine the soft music they make (sometimes loud) which in most cases is joyous. It reminds me of happy announcements, moments and a certain calmness that can stand the test of time.

DONKEY

The donkey may not be an obvious visual symbol that would remind a person about Christmas; however it is an important one. It reminds me of simplicity and being down-to-earth. We tend to get lost in the merriment and festivities but the essence of this occasion has always been simplicity.

 

This brings me to the last part of this post; what do the colours of Christmas mean to me?

Red – It represents love and warmth. It is spending the holiday with those you love, the ones that make you feel welcomed, included and needed.

 

Green – To me green stands for Mother Nature. It was the hay that kept the baby warm, the animals that greeted the little Jesus and let us not forget the star that guided the visitors.

White/Gold – I have clubbed these colours together because to me they hold a similar meaning which is LIGHT. When your heart is filled with gratitude for the ones you love and towards the earth that has given you so much you learn to see the that life is so much bigger, better and perhaps even brighter ….. brighter than the sun – that is what I see as ‘light’.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have a happy Thursday! 🙂