Today is Christmas Eve. Usually there is some hype about the Christmas season – last year we had our relatives come over for a Christmas Eve meal, complete with roast turkey, apple-baked ham, log cake, shepherd’s pie, trios of sandwiches and salads from our family friends and relatives who shared the joy and warmth of Christmas through thoughtful dinner offerings – but this year things are quieter. Contrary to the first silent night in Nazareth, the Christmas period is always bustling with activity and programmes. The activities are still aplenty, but for the few days leading up to Christmas, this year’s Christmas deal is a lot simpler, humbler.
Some of our cousins, aunts and uncles is somewhere around the globe on their Christmas family vacation. When we went to have Christmas dinner with our grandma last evening, it was a simple eclectic affair of mashed potatoes, roasted turkey, mixed vegetables, fish curry and rice. We left before nine o’clock so grandma can give ample rest for the next day.
Today was just like any ordinary day. Some of our friends have begun sending Christmas wishes, but not many. I am waiting to send them tomorrow when the day holds most meaning for more. I spent most of my time the past two days reading off a kindle – one of the ways I chose to spend my remaining LDS this year. The ebooks on the kindle has captured more of my attention than the shows of television or even the happenings on my laptop, making me a very happy reader. For someone who spends weeks (at the minimum) reading an actual book, I have read 2 books in the past four days. I think the kindle has made me a winner. In some sense.
My family are curious but not judgemental about the new gadget they see me wrapped up in. My sister and brother even sounded slightly envious at the kindle. I boast about how fast I have been reading with the kindle. We do have reservations about using a kindle as a substitute reader compared to books, but with the proper balance, I believe it is one with plenty of merits. Its concept is eco-friendly, it is also a convenient companion with you want to travel light but with something constructive at hand to do, it helps to reinforce my vocabulary with the built-in dictionary app, it saves money because ebooks are a lot cheaper (and last longer), and it saves space. There is still an important place for real, paper-pages books though. I would buy books I want to pass on to my children and children’s children for their literary value. The worth of some books are priceless and cannot be confined on any screen.
I logged into my work email a few times to reply some emails and do (a bit) of preparation for work. I also took an afternoon nap hugging my plush hippo Good Heart to sleep. I am deliberately refusing to engage in any proper work until the meetings kick in next week. A tutor, mentor and friend once shared with us that work will always be there; but personal time will not. In that same line of things, you should protect as much personal time and space as possible, since work will always be hanging around.
Slowing down the pace this holiday is a good thing. Many people play up the holiday season and Christmas celebrations with the indulgent partying and commercialised celebrations and present-giving. I remember up till a few years ago log cakes, Christmas turkeys, and thick legs of flavoured ham were always a part of Christmas dinner. This year, I am thankful that Christmas a low-key affair of delicious leftovers and simple home-cooked food. We had my youngest brother’s girlfriend – it feels strange calling her name, L has always been more of a dear sister and friend at church – come over, and now I am sitting in front of the television watching a hallmark Christmas movie in the background. It is pure, simple bliss.
Tomorrow will bring about more time to rest, reflect and wait for the Christmas concert of praise programme we have at church in the late afternoon. My wish is that all people get to experience the love, joy and peace that comes from Christ this Christmas. Blessed Christmas to all!