The Presence of Christmas

19 Dec

Well, here it is again. The time of year when we seek out bargains, presents and fill the cupboards with copious amounts of food and drink just for one day – Christmas.

I remember as a child, persuading my mum to buy a Christmas tree as I liked the decorations, and although we liked to think of ourselves as a  liberal Muslim family, it was not the done thing; to have a Christian symbol in the home. But I insisted and eventually, mum caved in and we had our first tree in the corner of the living room. It was always my duty to start decorating it and my siblings would join in. I think I was about 13 or 14, when the novelty wore off and I didn’t have a tree again until I met T.

I didn’t think we would celebrate this year as in the past few years, we chose not to celebrate Christmas for various reasons.

The last few Christmases have not been a particularly good time for me as I have lost several jobs in the run up to the festive period over the years, so it has been a very difficult “celebration” for want of a better word, financially and emotionally. You plan to buy presents, food and maybe treat yourself to that item you always wanted, like a CD or DVD, bottle of eau de toilette, T shirt or jeans and a nice meal out, and hope to buy that specific item your partner had his eye on for a long time and you hope to surprise him on on the Eve of that one Special Day, and suddenly, you find you’re out of a job and you can’t afford to buy the things you wanted. It’s like your world comes crashing down…and you think twice about everything you might need and try to remain optimistic but you can’t. You think of how you’re going to pay the bills, mortgage,  feed yourself and pick yourself up to find another job.

And then, my thoughts turn to those in need, the poverty stricken, the homeless living out on the streets, the vulnerable and isolated, the starving, the poor, the deprived, the socially disadvantaged,  those who have lost loved ones, those who don’t see their loved ones through family disputes and many other people who I’m not able to mention here.

I tried to think positively “Well at least I have faith (of some description)  inner strength (so I’ve been told), my health and even through the rollercoaster of life, I’m still here. I have a roof over my head and a loving, supportive partner and I will find a way through this.”  It was those thoughts which kept me going and holding onto those words and retaining that mindset helped me to be motivated and place idle or negative thoughts into a more productive and practical days activity. I have managed to overcome some obstacles in my life.

I am fortunate to go out this year and spend a little though I won’t be without my own losses. We’ve got the tree  up and decorated, a small poinsettia and I plan to bake small oatie cookies in the name of Christmas Cheer.  To use a cliche, I realise that I am grateful for small mercies and in doing so, I also remember why Christmas is celebrated. Not just for the giving and receiving of presents or spending money you might have or don’t have or decking the halls and all the other things which we associate with Christmas.

It’s about remembering the birth of Christ and what He brought to the World.




The Learned Kat


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