Mother's column – Christmas preparations are not only about gifts


Christian Life

Edit Frivaldszky, CNE.news

A Christmas tree at the Saint Stephen's Cathedral, during snowfall in the centre of Budapest, Hungary. Photo EPA, Zoltan Mathe

I love December. Advent brings a special atmosphere to our family. In the evenings, we sip warm tea or hot chocolate by the crackling fire, the light strings are hung inside and outside, everyone tries to get home to the warm rooms as soon as possible.

Two church services make the Advent season even better. On Fridays, early morning at 6 o'clock we have a youth rorate (early morning Mass) in our Catholic church. We get up at 5:30, get dressed quickly and get in the car where the children warm up their vocal chords. “Momomomomomo... mamamamamamaaaa...” Very loudly. And we haven't even had our morning coffee yet.

It's still dark when we arrive at the church where only candles give some light. Passing the flame on, we can see more. During the short mass, we sing Taize songs with guitar or piano. After the rorate, the youth have breakfast together and then go to school from the church. When we open the church gate, it is already light outside, morning has arrived.


On Advent Sundays, we also serve in the elderly home. Two or three families come together in the morning equipped with a few musical instruments and sing Christmas carols to the old ladies and gentlemen. We make small paper gifts for the people there, which we see again and again every year. For us it is just a paper-thread-and-glue, for them it is a memory of Christmas carols. In nursing homes, waiting has a different meaning. "The Lord is near" means not only the coming of Christmas, but also the passing of our lives.

And... Christmas Eve also comes in December. What does it mean for us? The infinite God enters our finite world! We can't even comprehend it, it's such a huge event. We can't grasp it, so we prefer to cling to our earthly realities: piling up presents, lining up food, and get the house ready for Christmas Eve. We want to make everything perfect. No stress! Everybody loves everybody! Will the bomb go off on Christmas Eve? Have you ever experienced any tension in your family at Christmas? Just because you haven't procured all the presents, baked all the cookies, cleaned all the windows. But maybe you don't have to. Instead of exchanging gifts, let's enrich each other with positive experiences.



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