Christmas Eve

No. 63 - 24th December 2017

When I was a child growing up in India, we had our own Christmas ritual like everyone else. At bedtime on Christmas Eve I would reluctantly leave the rest of the family in the lounge. And passing through the dining room I would pick up a paraffin lamp from the table and head for my bedroom. The lantern, hanging by my side would throw grotesquely moving shadows on every wall as I made my way to bed. I never really got over the fear of those shadows. I would get into my pyjamas and dive under the mosquito net being careful not to be caught by anything that might be lurking under the bed. The net was hung from a thin wooden frame rather like a four-poster bed. I’d turn the lamp down low and try desperately to get to sleep. Not easy on Christmas Eve. Then having tossed around for a while I would suddenly wake up at about four o’clock in the morning, to see a large bulging stocking hanging on one of the pillars that held up the mosquito net. And there on the bedside table was an Eagle Annual, specially sent out from England. I knew it would be there because that was to keep me quiet until the rest of the house could be woken at six o’clock.

Finally, when the magic hour arrived, I would scramble out from underneath the net and wake my older sister. Then we would stand together outside our parents bedroom and sing, “God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

My parents would drag themselves out of bed, and I could never understand whey they weren’t more excited. Father would light the fire in the lounge while my mother made drinks and then the ritual would begin, as we opened all our presents together. It was all over far too soon. I hope you have your own magical Christmas tomorrow. Just remember, in the words of the carol, Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan’s power when we have gone astray. Oh tidings of Comfort and Joy. This Christmas, may you find comfort and joy in the knowledge that God has sent his only son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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