What I’ll Teach My Daughters This Christmas
This year is going to be an interesting Christmas.
Besides the fact that we are doing things under new and adjusted circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my eldest daughter is beginning to understand things around her. My 23-month-old is in the words of Peppa Pig (an animate favourite series of hers), is a “clever clog”.
Besides being able to count to 20 with confidence, recite the alphabet, and say the days of the week and months of the year, she has also become obsessed with prayer. And when I say obsessed, I mean the sort who demands a prayer before her afternoon nap or as she prays for a meal, scolds those with their eyes open. Yeah, she’s quite advanced for her age.
But it will surely be a very interesting time for us as we count down the Advent season together as a family and begin telling her the stories of the coming and birth of Jesus. It’s not just an exciting time for us as a young family trying to navigate through a kind of first Christmas with two young children (the youngest merely four months old), but it’s a special time we will cherish together.
I think that’s what lockdown under its various levels had taught us: to cherish one another, to slow down and to allow our time to be spent appreciating those special people and moments.
I know that for me Christmas is a very special time. Besides the joy of all the festivities, the lights and decoration, the true magic lies in that moment God decided to manifest Himself and to become one of us. That’s one of the important things I will be teaching my two miracle babies and will try to instil in them as they grow and develop.
Last Christmas we celebrated over a period of three days as we had family over from Germany. Our eldest daughter was fascinated by the new friendly faces visiting us. It was the time before she really spoke, let alone walked. It was a Christmas where we needed to help her open a gift from the gazillion German relatives who had spoilt her rotten as the first and only little one in their midst.
This year, however, we will have to do a different sort of Christmas celebration, a different sort of interaction with family, and limit our contact and that mingling with one another. It will surely be a different time, one we will need to get used to.
I’m sure I’ll miss the Christmas Eve Mass in all its reverence as the drummer beats his drum as the congregation sing out in full gusto, “O Holy Night” and we get to smell the thurible burning the nice aroma. It’s all a tradition which I don’t know when or even if we will see again, a tradition I was hoping to show and allow my daughter to experience for herself.
For me Christmas is all about family, and with a pandemic in our midst, we spend it cautiously with those who are near to us but long for those who are living across the borders to be merry and celebrate this season with us.
The take-away I’d like to teach my daughters around the Christmas season lies beyond the birth of our Saviour. For me it resides in us stopping, taking time to soak up the sun, to appreciate and to spend time with our families, and to be charitable in our gift-giving to others — gifting not a physical present but rather our emotional, psychological and spiritual presence.