So much for finding hours and hours at my disposal to explore blogdom. So far my break has been consumed by preparations for the Big Day and trying not to be the victim of parking lot rage at the mall. I am always saddened by the commercialisation of Christmas and how easily we forget what we are really celebrating.
Living in Cape Town with its large Malay community the contrast with the recent celebration of Ramadan and Eid is unavoidable. I was so touched by the Muslims around me who took such joy in the fasting and frequent visits to mosque in the month preceding Eid, culminating in the similar celebration with family and friends that we are approaching. There were no glittering lights, or jolly fat men. No excessive maxing out of credit cards. Just a period of intense prayer and connection with God and a celebration of community. On the day of Eid I was amazed at the number of Muslim families on the road and the fact that I did not have to worry at all about drunk drivers!
Here in suburbia the madness is in full swing. Lights are up, the malls are jam packed and everyone seems to be in such a frantic rush that this Babyjesus chap is all but forgotten. I have tried to counter this with taking the girls to church as much as possible and recounting the story as many times as they will listen. This evening we all went carol singing in our neighbourhood and dropped off invitations to the Christmas service wrapped around a piece of Christmas cake. It was very sweet and I enjoyed the time with my family wandering the neighbourhood. Being in South Africa we had to try get it done before dark and my sister insisted we be in the group with the stun gun wielding granny... apparently even suburbia over Christmas holds its dangers.
Although I still have too many unanswered questions to honestly consider myself a Christian (whatever that means) I do appreciate this time of being able to at least try and focus on God (whatever that means) and the good we are all capable of manifesting in the world.
Of course that being said I am a sucker for Christmas eve and love the excitement that the children seem ready to explode with. I have indoctrinated the girls with my version of the St Nicholas story - I'm not sure how accurate it is but it seems to have gone down well. And it has given them a slightly less commercialised view of Father Christmas.
Christmas presents were a challenge this year, especially seeing as all that T1 wanted for Christmas was real fairy wings that can make her fly... FC and Queen Maeve had to write her a letter explaining how it is simply not possible to share fairy magic with mortals which she accepted with good grace. She then informed me that she didn't want to tell me what she had asked for as she had spoken her wish out loud, in secret and Father Christmas is sure to have heard! I have come to accept that chances of me getting this one right are slim. T2 is still young enough to just enjoy opening any gift at all, which leaves the range of choices too wide for someone with my decision making problem. I have done what I can and hope I've pulled this responsibility off well enough...
I am happy to abide by the local traditions of Christmas as long as they seem to need it, but when they are older would like to spend our Christmases focusing on those less fortunate as I think this Jesus chap would have liked us to do.