Do remember this Christmas!

The feeling of cold and crisp winter air on your face, soft snow flakes falling gently and curling on the window ledge, a cup of steaming and delicious hot chocolate in front of the blazing fire, a choir melodiously singing carols in the town centre and children sitting on santa’s lap asking for a present for being good all year round, sparkly christmas trees, lots of mulled wine and egg nog, minced pies, a rush to get all the christmas shopping done, parties, dinners and family gatherings….yup! all sounds like that beautiful time of the year again – Christmas! And I don’t know about you, but yes I do love this festival 🙂

It is a glorious celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget, his parents; St. Joseph and Mother Mary.

Mary was born to St. Anne and St. Joachim of Israel. Joachim was a wealthy man and always made a double offering to God. He was once denied to do so first, as he had not raised a child (Anne and Joachim had been trying for an offspring for a long time). As a result, Joachim went into the desert, pitched his tent there and decided to fast for forty days and forty nights whilst praying to God for an offspring. Anna, who was also frustrated, sat under a laurel tree and prayed to God to bless her with an offspring, just as he had blessed Sarah (wife of Abraham) with Isaac. Suddenly, an angel appeared to Anne revealing that her prayer had been answered by the Lord and that she will be blessed with an offspring. On hearing this, Anna was overjoyed and vouched to dedicate her child to serving the Lord. Nine months later, Anna gave birth to a baby girl, Mary.

At the age of three, Mary was presented to the temple by her parents in order to be educated and serve the Lord. When she reached the age of fourteen, the priest of the temple had a visitation from an angel stating to gather all the widowers of the region and ask them to carry a staff. The one that the Lord points out to, shall be Mary’s husband. The priest did as he was told, and a dove came out of Joseph’s staff ; and he was the chosen one.

Mary through the power of the holy spirit, conceived Jesus. She is a symbol of compassion, kindness, innocence, mercy and is a pure soul.

St. Joseph, was a working man, a carpenter and not well to do. He once offered two turtle-doves (pigeons) as a sacrifice to the Lord, as he could not afford a lamb. He was hardworking, righteous and dedicated his life to serve God and obey his commands. Above all, he loved Jesus dearly and did everything he could to protect his child. When an angel appeared to him and told him to leave the town as his child was not safe, he did as he was told and stayed in Egypt, till he was further instructed that it was safe to return.

Let us celebrate Christmas this year, by remembering the humble parents of Jesus and their life. Let us remember their virtues and strive to imbibe these in our daily lives.

featured image courtesy: filcatholic.org

 

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A breath of fresh air

 

The sky was overcast yesterday with grey and black hues,

Were the clouds going to transform into torrential rain I didn’t have a clue,

My heart however, desired to venture out and breathe in the fresh winter air,

And also to feed the magnificent birds as planned, it was only but fair.

The more I contemplate on the best course of action to take, the harder it gets to make a decision. Whilst it is sensible to always weigh the pros and cons, especially when important life changing decisions are concerned it is also equally important to follow your heart and take a risk once in a while. There is an extremely thin line between being practical and spontaneous; one which we have to carefully tread.

I have always found it hard to make decisions, over-thinking things and possibly thinking the worst outcome of any course of action I chose to take; but whatever little experience I have had in life all I can say with conviction is ‘If you don’t try it, you will never know’. Be it with decisions related to work, relationships, personal well-being or small day to day choices we make. Which dish do I order at this restaurant? Should I try something new or stick to the one I know is good?; which outfit should I wear to this special event? Should I agree to do that project when I am not sure I will enjoy it? Should I speak to this person – what will they think or say? And so on.

So rain or no rain; despite the overcast sky I decided to take a walk around where I live. I live in a set of apartments with a view of the city as well as the calming water of the Quays (best of both worlds) and there are a number of beautiful ducks and swans around this area. I have always wanted to take some time out to to feed them; something that I imagined to be a therapeutic process. My excitement was palpable when I bought that loaf of bread to break bit by bit and watch these elegant birds eat it. As I approached the waterfront and took out the loaf to open; what seemed like a million swans/ducks/pigeons/birds all sensed the treat and made a dash towards me unexpectantly. It got to the point where I got visibly concerned and had to half abandon the bird feeding and run a safe distance away whilst requesting my husband to complete the task I had so confidently started. He was braver than me and emerged victorious. It was hardly the ‘therapeutic process’ I had hoped for it to be; but nevertheless I was happy by the end of it.

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Elated by the short-lasting experience we nipped into the outlet mall next door as I really wanted to check out a store organised by the Francis House Childrens’ Hospice called ‘Festival of Christmas trees’. It is a store full of beautifully decorated glittery christmas trees and decorations by various retail stores and one can bid on each tree; all proceeds go to the hospice. It was a magical store. I later on checked out their website: www.francishouse.org.uk

I found these cute promotional items and tea towels designed by the children and bought the tea towels!

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So back to the start, to all decisions we make; however big or small is always a learning experience. It might not always work out as we would expect it to but on the other hand work out brilliantly and surprise us! You never know what is there around the corner and for the series of events to truly unfold, sometimes you just have to take the plunge.  After all, if you don’t try it, you will never know!