Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year was beautiful. We went to the astonishingly beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, a church built around 1852 and since restored with love and grace. Amazing murals of Christ on the road to Crucification bring tears to one’s eyes. The carols were wonderful, prayers solemn.

Santa made his regular trip to our house with presents for all, including little Ronnie, who has for the last few days been a bit more manageable as he is starts to understand the concept this magic man called ‘Santa’ bringing presents is a consequence of good behavior. We will see how many years this lasts.

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Many people ask me, sometimes myself included, if I am a Christian. The answer is somewhat complicated. I was born in a Hindu household, to atheist parents. I do not even know what it means to be Christian. In all fairness, however, I know my Bible quite well, (yes sire, I know my Abraham from my Isaac) thanks to priviliged education in a Catholic School in Calcutta. It is such a good thing that you do not have to be of a religion to like and love the beautiful things religion has to offer.

One thing that struck me this year, was while I was listening to NPR on the way to some last minute Christmas shopping. The famous Christmas Eve service at King’s College in London was on the radio. The host offered a reflection, in context of the severe refugee crisis all across the world,  that Jesus himself was a refugee, the son of two people fleeing persecution.

This year, King’s College commissioned this special sermon so that this important truth is not lost on Man, written by George Szirtes, himself a refugee.

The child on the dirtpath
finds the highway blocked
The dogs at the entrance snarl
that doors are locked
The great god of kindness has his kindness mocked

May those who travel light
Find shelter on the flight
May Bethlehem
Give rest to them.

The sea is a graveyard
the beach is dry bones
the child at the station
is pelted with stones
the cop stands impassive
the ambulance drones

We sleep then awaken
we rest on the way
our sleep might be troubled
but hope is our day
we move on for ever
like children astray

We move on for ever
our feet leave no mark
you won’t hear our voices
once we’re in the dark
but here is our fire this child is our spark.

 

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