Sunday, 27 December 2015

7 Christmas Quick Takes (2015 version)

Last year I did a 7 Quick Takes on Christmas. So because I'm so creative and original, I decided to go with the exact same idea. I'm a creature of habit. Usually bad habits.


So people keep asking me how my Christmas went. I try to think of something fascinating that happened, and of course, it is, "I decided to be an adult, and made the roast chicken for the first time in my life." My findings:
  • If I had to pick one thing that I had to eat every day for the rest of my life, I THINK stuffing made with bacon, sausage, breadcrumbs, onion, raisins and apple might be it.
  • Stitching together a dead bird might be the grossest thing anyone could do on a Christmas morning.
  • Recipe books are great with the theory, but when you say it'll take an hour to roast, maybe you should mention that in REALITY it might take 2 hours plus some for the bird to actually be cooked through
  • Cutting a whole roast chicken into edible portions is a messy and unsatisfying business for amateurs like myself.
However the delicious meal we eventually ate made everything worth it. (Also helping us practice our 'waiting in joyful hope')


An Indian Catholic's Christmas differs from an American Catholic's in one major way- we always have our Christmas sweets. Not just Christmas cookies, but a whole set of delicacies like marzipan (sugar and cashewnut), kulkuls (fried and frosted bits of dough), fudge, milk toffee, cheese straws, fruitcake, etc. I assume most of these are Goan Catholic traditions, mostly from the Portuguese? Or a little from here, a little from there? Anyway, it would be a strange, strange Christmas without these Christmas sweets.


Even though an Indian Christmas has nothing to do with snowmen, pine trees, candy canes, etc, and none of those things have anything much to do with the biblical Nativity of Jesus (unlike the Christmas star and angels), all those things seem to be a normal part of our Christmases here. Kids in school do Christmas arts and crafts which reflect a Christmas from a different part of the world, we cheerily sing 'Let It Snow' and 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas', which almost none of us have ever seen.

And of course Santa Claus appears as the main face of Christmas. Sad but true: Humans of Bombay recorded a little street child selling Christmas decorations, saying, "Every year I ask Santa for only one thing - a way to get myself properly educated. This year I also realised that I want to be a scientist so I'm praying even harder that he makes my wish come true. They say Santa doesn't exist, but I have faith that one day I'll be able to stop working, study and become the best scientist in the world!"

Pray to Jesus, not Santa! (I know for atheists it doesn't make a difference, but as a Catholic, praying to a fictional character from the North Pole isn't exactly the same as praying to the historical person of Jesus who still heals and reveals Himself today. Unless he's really asking for the intercession of Saint Nicholas?)

Anyway, in spite of the randomness of some of our Christmas traditions, I sure enjoy having a Christmas tree and heaps of gifts under it.

Even if it's a fake tree.


Over the last week or so I have been listening to this song 'Wonder' on repeat. The words are very simple-

May we never lose our wonder / Wide eyed and mystified / May we be just like a child / Staring at the beauty of our King/ You are beautiful in all your ways

A couple of weeks ago in the US, I spent one of the most beautiful hours of my life, sitting in Adoration with a chapel full of people loving Jesus. We sang this song, over and over, and my heart was filled with wonder. And now at Christmas, it makes even more sense.

I think of how Mary must have gazed in wonder at this little creature, suckling at her breast.. The God of the Universe become tiny and weak and helpless, her Creator, and yet her little one. How her heart must have swelled with love, with awe, with tenderness. I catch little tastes of that wonder when I gaze at Jesus in the Eucharist- once again become so small, to be with me. The secret of everything- greatness hidden in littleness.

Bishop Robert Barron says, "How common this is in the Bible: the reversal of expectations, the little giving rise to the great, wonderful things coming where you least expect them. The stuttering Moses speaks up to mighty Pharaoh, the slaves face down the Egyptian army, tiny David kills the giant Goliath..."

In the quiet of my prayer time, in the heart-lifting moment of the Psalm being sung at Christmas Mass, in the the brief moment of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and walking back to my pew, in the few minutes of prayer as my family gathered around my blind and bedridden great aunt, these were the God-moments of Christmas.


Some Christmas articles and blog posts-

Have Yourself a Broken Little Christmas

We celebrate a Savior who entered a wounded world. And every year we celebrate his birth, we see evidence that our world is still so broken, still so in need of the saving power of Jesus. Our Savior did not come as a king, although he could have saved us in any way he pleased. Rather, he came as a tiny, vulnerable child. He entered our broken, violent, hate-filled world as a tiny, trusting, child, to be with us. 

Oh, That Final Verse!

If you’re not getting everything you need in this world, if you don’t feel satisfied, if you feel adrift and alone and incomplete, that’s because we haven’t gotten to the end of the song yet. You haven't yet gotten to the final verse, which rescues all the others from fantasy. 

Christmas Isn't Candy Canes—It's D-Day in the War Against Satan

Jesus the King of the Universe entered the territory of the “prince of this world” and began to take back territory from him.  


 (More at


And old Christmas stuff from me:

Are You Going to a Christmas Dance? 

7 Christmas Quick Takes 

Christmas Highlights

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