It is the exploration of these questions that caused me to I state in one of my earlier blogs entries that I wanted to enumerate and (try to) capture in words the experience of worship of Jesus Christ at at SJD. So here is my attempt at capturing in words what I so vividly remember to be my experience of the weight of Glory of God as exemplified in the singing of the SJD choir. What makes my attempt monstrously difficult for me is that I am musically illiterate in my mind, ear and vocabulary. So my attempt to write this is I believe, like a blind man trying to describe a painting to folks that can see.
It is done this way because Jesus was supposedly born at night, secondly
because this way they can make sure that there is someone at the house
to answer the door. It doesn’t matter if someone looses a little sleep
one day a year during Christmas season, after all it is CHRISTMAS. They go knocking on each of the Christian houses and sing a carol song, then receive an ‘offering’ (contributions of money) and then move on to the next house. They have a Santa and chocolates and huge portable halogen lights… This group does what they do not to spread the Gospel, but to uphold a tradition. No matter what their motives, the kids in the houses really enjoy it. I remember when I and my sister used to be kids, we would hear the carols being sung at some house at the other end of the street and will eagerly wait by the window. And when the carol comes to the house adjacent to ours, our hearts would be thumping. They would come to our house, we would open the door and stand there. Everyone will be looking at us, we will be looking around shyly, the Santa would shake our hands and dance. When the song is over, the Santa would give us chocolates and someone would extend an offering box and my sister or I would place the offering. One year, my sister and I heard Christmas carol choir and we waited by the window, wide awake, but alas just a few houses ahead of ours the choir decided to call it a night. Needless to say, we did ‘lose some sleep over it’. 🙂
The ‘tradition upholding’ Christian carol group apart there are some truly ‘compassionate’ Christian carol groups that, instead of going to Christian homes to collect ‘offering’, go to poor villages in the ‘suburbs’ and sing Carols in each of the non-Christian homes. They don’t take offering. They in true spirit of Christmas give gifts to the poor people. As a child, going for Christmas carols around the poor villages were awesome experiences.
Churches have massive decorations, lights all around, along the edges of every wall, along the ridges of every section of the roof, all the way up to the Church spire. Some Churches have huge lighted stars hanging all along the way from the residential areas to the Church. As people go to the Church, it is symbolic of the Magi following the star. Every Christian house would have a huge lighted star hanging in front. In fact, you can walk into any street and count the stars and you’ll know the number of Christian homes in the street. The starts are generally huge colored paper stars with light bulbs within that make the star glow brightly at nights. Of course, there were were rivalries and jealousy among kids as to whose star looked the best!
All Indian Christians wear a new dress for Church on Christmas day. During Christmas service, the amount of gold the Indian ladies wear to Church would be more than any Bank would have in its lockers. Of course, in some sensitive areas there is police protection as well. Church service would get over by 6:00 am.
A HUGE part of the festivities of Christmas rested on my mother’s shoulders because the most important part of Christmas festivities would be sharing delicacies with non-Christians. My mom would have started planning for Christmas meal, the ‘Biriyani’, more than a week prior to Christmas. ‘Biriyani’ is a South Indian delicacy that is very rich in spices and tastes great to the South Indian pallet and it takes lots of preparation and a lot more patience. On Christmas day we would give Biriyani and Christmas cake to the non-Christian homes in our neighborhood and those not in our neighbourhood. My mother would prepare Biriyani in a 10 gallon cooking basin. We would hire a handmaid in addition to the full-time house-help to assist my mom with the cooking for this occasion.
Of the reminiscences of the Good.
Past-tastes of the Good times, in Truth,
In the Culture at large, in the Church and at the Homes of Christians!
Fully restoring true humanity back to humanity.