What do I remember about Christmas? Perhaps it was just yesterday when I read it somewhere how many people hear “Christmas is in our neck” lately. But it should be in our heart….
I love Christmas, like almost everyone, but there is something I have to say. Less than an hour east of Budapest there is a village called Bag. This is where I live. In our Village. There is a live Advent. From December 1 to December 24, the Advent light is lit in different window every evening, that is, the current counter of the Advent calendar. Little ones and old ones gather in front of the community center at 6 pm every night, with a lantern in their hands and solve a puzzle to find out where to go that day. After a good winter walk, at the ominous house, tea, mulled wine, bread with lard and cookies awaits for the light hunters. We talk, sing, and at this time my heart is filled with the spirit of Christmas.
Tamás Sárközi- Vienna
Nowadays, we can feel some tension around Christmas, though the holiday is in the hearts, we need to calm down, not speed up. The financial part of the holiday always puts families in a difficult budget. When I was a child, we put colorful ribbons in a circle and then we tied them together. The first day it was 2-3 meters and it has gone around the tree several times, it was my Christmas. My ribbons were colorful, which cheerfully surrounded the tree. We ironed the glossy chocolate paper smooth with our fingernails, chestnuts and walnuts were wrapped in aluminum foil and we made paper decorations.
Because of the cold, the penguins are lurking around, and people should get close to each other too, to keep Christmas deep. They always want more, better and richer Christmas. The holiday is about hearts, make your heart better, kinder, cause the feeling of the warm. So that our children will preserve the spirit of Christmas with the same enthusiasm.
Katalin Kovács- Herisau (Switzerland)
Well, for me, Christmas has always been a wonderful holiday. Perhaps no other celebration was preceded by as much love preparation, secret making as Christmas. But the holidays were much simpler back then. They were simpler but full of deep love and they were more intimate. “Decorating” our hearts and souls were more important than dressing our homes with lights. For us, the lights were on in our souls. The dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas meals, welcoming guests or going to visit have left deep impressions inside me. Which I can still remember with pure heart and joy. We still truly believed in the little Jesus, the light which came into our hearts and then in reality too. I don’t know what it meant to my ancestors, but I am afraid, unfortunately, I cannot provide my children and grandchildren with the beauty and wonder that my parents and my only known grandparent, my grandmother, have provided me. None of them is with us anymore, but I light a candle for them and I remember them while praying. From this I withdraw strength and look forward to the future when the light shines in my soul.
My first thought about Christmas? Love, scent of cinnamon and orange cloves, preparation, waiting, meeting and many tiny exciting surprises. These are still important today, but many families are living very far apart. Who can either get together to celebrate love or not. Since I have been living away from my family and we I myself have a family, we have adapted our little celebration to the needs of our child. The sparkling Christmas tree is the most beautiful sight that has always enchanted us at home as well as the glittering pine tree in the temple. When I was a child, the holiday was about the time we spent together and some gifts, and today, it is often about the gift and its value. I think this holiday is unique because everyone organizes it the best way they can. Without expectations and bound circles, because everything is nicer and better when it comes from the heart. We have not been buying Christmas gifts just for the kids for years, the money we would spend on gifts we put it aside for our holidays and trips, we are collecting experiences. And every year we support a foundation or organization that is based in Hungary.
Adrien Tolnay- Nagykároly (Romania)
What do I remember about Christmas? As a Christian, the first thing that comes to my mind is God’s Great Gift: Jesus for whom have Christmas and I have Christmas! Unfortunately, the puritanical simplicity of Christmas has been taken over by light and glamor, preparation, baking, shopping, spending money, nervousness, rush, stress … and it’s all about, not what or who’s important …Why can’t we be like the shepherds , and celebrate with the simplicity of the shepherds? After all, they only gave themselves, they only watched Him when they went to Bethlehem and visited the little Jesus.
I was reminded of a caricature which illustrates very well that Christmas has been completely overrated. The drawing shows the following picture: A cradle full of all kinds of gifts that the family looks upon with great love and joy, but they don’t see the essence: the child next to the crib.
The question I have is, how many people notice the real Gift? How many people see the Child who was born for me, who came to this world for me for whom we are celebrating Christmas? Do you notice it, or does something else fill in its place? Because Christmas is embodied in Jesus, everything gains meaning in Him, peace, faith, hope and love.
Here the Christmas preparation is full with excitement, with the advent of Advent we count the days until Christmas. We are planning how to surprise the children and what kind of food we should enjoy this year. The morning of December 24, the sweet smell of roasting beigli is circulating in the house and in the garden. Then in the afternoon we will decorate the Christmas tree with a collaboration of the family, accompanied by Christmas songs. Then, after a little while, the onion scent spreads – the fish soup is getting ready…. Since match pastas are not available in the shops here, we knead them ourselves and serve them with the delicious fish soup. In the meantime, we also remember those who, unfortunately, can’t celebrate with us anymore. The next day, new cake specialties are made like French Cream, and sliced apples and shelled nuts shouldn’t be missed from the table. Later we surprise each other with a little gift and the holidays a little bit more intimate. In our small family, Christmas is about preserving and passing on traditions.
For 16 years I have been living in a small forest where I love to retreat from the noise of the world. By this time, around the winter solstice, Mother Earth is already dressed in darkness, long nights, short days, and nature is calming down. This silence and tranquility literally flies our soul towards the starry sky.
Or does it really silence and tranquility which flies the soul of man towards the light?
I smiled as I remembered our ancestors Kerchsen / Kerecseny / Turul falcon bird, light bird, bird of the Sun. The young falconers, on the feast of the falcon that coincides with today’s Christmas, flew falcon birds, who until now were captives of darkness with their skin-blinds, carrying with them the blessings of our shepherds, the prayers of our shamans. The falcon is also known as the Mesopotamian sun-cult bird. At winter time, my mother always comes to us for Christmas, and although we do not fly the falcon like our ancestors used to be, we are telling or reading soul-warming and uplifting books / stories / by the warm fireplace has become indispensable for us. Cooking and baking together, the walks in nature is crowning our intimate conversations, knowing that a walk in nature and Mother Earth always gives you more than you think …
To see what it means Christmas for each of us, because it has recently become a completely different financial and computational celebration.Because the outside and the appearance has become more important. In the past, the anticipation was greater, or at least as great as the holiday itself.
Christmas is a celebration of gratitude, joy, love, togetherness and families. When those values will be important which never cost a thing, because they live inside us and we have them every day of the year. There are many tiny events filled with love and experiences to be really happy, and not material goods. By the light of the Christmas candle, I like to reflect on what year we are about to close, release. I think of the many beautiful experiences that we have experienced and given over the years. The harder tasks that helped us to develop and learn are recalled. And the sad and painful loss teaches us that what is transient is the eternal cycle of love and soul. In this case, you have to put down some heavy spiritual packages and release them. The year is coming to an end and the next year should be opened with new experience, strength and confidence. It is worth starting the New Year with gratitude, hopes of love, and especially with a clean sheet.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas!