by Anura Guruge
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As a Reformed, Born-Again, Heathen I LOVE Christmas and always have. I love everything about Christmas — and I have even been known to go to church on Christmas eve because I love the music and pageantry.
My surrogate father [who I called ‘Ta’ (the first two letters of ‘Tatta’, the Sinhalese (and Yiddish) word for father), and after who I take after the most in terms of personality] was a mainly-white, Burgher Baptist. I used to spend all my weekends and holidays with them — he and his wife (my adoptive mother’s older sister). They had no children and he was a lawyer (the solicitor for the Ceylon Ministry of Food) and she the Deputy Principal of Ceylon’s largest and most prestigious school. I MADE OUT LIKE A BANDIT. I was to learn that Ta shopped right through the year to make sure he got enough presents for me at Christmas! Very early on WE dispensed with Christmas stockings. They were too small. He instituted the notion of Christmas PILLOWCASES — and soon we had to have two. He also did an elaborate Christmas dinner, with all the works, for the entire family — most of whom were Buddhists — on Christmas Day. So I was inculcated into the joys of Christmas since a baby.
Similar to what I had. Mine had more blue.
I am also very partial to Advent calendars — ever since I encountered them. For whatever reason we did not have them in Ceylon. To be honest I only encountered Advent calendars quite ‘late’ in my life. In my early 20s. Over the years I used to collect fancy Advent calendars. I used to have a really nice, royal blue and gold, 3D Cathedral one. You opened a portal each day. I think we have bits of it still. But since it was made of stiff paper it eventually started to fall apart.
Of late I don’t bother with a calendar for myself. More fun to let the kids enjoy. Yes, I get them — and Deanna — chocolate ones. I buy a LOT of them each year because I LOVE to give them to people. That reminds me. I will have to go to Hannaford and buy 20 – 25 today! Well, the kids end up getting two each. And one for Deanna. So that is 5 straight off the bat. And at Christmas I love to play the tanned St. Nicholas …
A couple of years ago I discovered the LEGO Advent Calendars. Now I get one each year for Teischan. See above.
Given my interest in religion (in particular early Christianity) I do appreciate that what WE mainly celebrate as Advent is the COMMERCIAL Advent as opposed to the Liturgical Advent. And ironically Advent isn’t a countdown to Christmas BUT to the Second Coming of Christ — and there is BIG difference. Liturgically the Advent does not start on Dec. 1 (unless it happens to fall on a Sunday). Never mind. This year we are close.
Rejoice. Enjoy. Be Merry. The Advent is upon us.