Growing Up Without Christmas

My sister and I were always home on weekends and summer vacations. On weekdays and school months, we lived with our aunt and grandma. That means on holidays like Christmas and New Year, we were with our parents. My grandma doesn't allow any celebrations like Christmas, feast days of saints, birthdays, etc., because of her religious beliefs.

Holiday preparations were made at home when December approaches. Chairs, sofa beds and other furniture were relocated. Christmas tree was built. The house became filled with decorations. There were wreaths on doors, lanterns, and Christmas lights. I believed about Santa Claus visiting the night and left gifts for me and my sister. We gathered for Noche Buena. Colors, sounds and the spirit of Christmas were everywhere.

When mom passed away, we started staying at grandma's which we later called our home, too. I turned ten when Christmas was no longer recognized and celebrated. We would sleep through Christmas Eve and wake up like any normal days. Even when the whole world seemed to have this magical holiday, we don't, up until these days. 

I started working and most of my Christmas days were spent at work or somewhere else with colleagues over dinner or other get- together's. This Christmas Eve, I will spend it with one of my closest friends here, since it's both our days off. I may not be able to celebrate it with my family who also wouldn't be able to celebrate it at home any way, I might as well gather with my friend, enjoy each other's company, and celebrate the holiday. I will reconnect with my family by simply greeting them. 

I don't want Christmas day celebrated any other way at home because this is what we grew up on- respecting our grandma's beliefs. But personally, if I were given the chance, I want to create my own tradition of celebrating Christmas in my own home soon- one that I can start with my own family in the future and my children passing down that tradition to their own set of families in the next generation to come. 

At the end of the day, though, it's up to me on how I would welcome the Christmas spirit in my life. I believe that there is no amount of decorating and preparing can make a house filled with Christmas spirit when you don't reflect on the reason and true meaning of Christmas. No matter how this day is celebrated, we should invite God to be with us, making Him a part of our day.

Lord, thank You, for the gift of Jesus to our world- the greatest gift we have ever received. 

Merry Christmas!