Celebrating My Christmas

I arrived at my sister’s home in Waterloo on the evening of Dec. 23, 2010, with 3 days of change of clothes, planning to return to Toronto on Dec. 26th after spending the Christmas holidays with her family.

On the morning of Dec. 24th, I felt that I would feel more comfortable in my own home in Toronto.  After lunch, I bid them goodbye.  My sister was disappointed.  Between pleasing her and myself, I chose the latter.

I do not celebrate Christmas, neither the religious one nor the commercial one.  Jesus Christ and Santa Clause are just two fairytale figures to me.  Christmas eve or Christmas day is just like any other evening or day.

I felt that I had been cajoled by the Christmas environment around me — the Christmas songs in radio stations, the decorations in shops and the many greetings I had received in voices, by mail and email — to pack up to spend the holiday at my sister’s place.  On the morning of Dec. 24th, I just decided that I had no need to go along with the persuasion by the Christmas environment.  I could be myself.  Myself was wanting to be in my home.

I got home, bought some vegetable in a nearby Chinese grocery store, had a supper with vegetables and some buns made by my sister, went to a local hair salon to have my hair cut, came home for a shower, changed my bedding, put Dr. Ho’s pads on my left shoulder for a muscle therapy session and a hot pad on my back to relax my muscles, turned on the TV in my bedroom.

I was drawn to the performance of the Christmas Concert by the Concordia Choir and Orchestra.  How come the singers and musicians are almost all white? I googled and found out that they were students of the Concordia College in Minnesota, US.  The College is a private, four year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. From the expressions of the singers and musicians I could tell that they believed in the meaning of the songs and loved the beauty of the music.  Their celebration of the religious Christmas was enchanting and elevating.

I thought that I would emulate their approach to music in my approach to building my outdoor rock climbing instruction company Zen Climb: be dedicated to both the meanings and craftsmanship in climbing.

I then watched the last part of the classic Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, which I had watched several times after my friend Franca recommended it to me several years ago.  Suddenly it dawned on me that this movie celebrated Christmas neither religiously nor commercially.  It celebrated the spirit of doing good things to others, on Christmas day, every day and all life. — That’s what George Bailey did at his best capacity in the movie.   This is the kind of Christmas celebration that I can participate!

In my first a few years in Canada, I joined my Canadian friends to celebrate Christmas mostly for the purpose of fitting in.  Then I rebelled to the idea of conforming to rampant Christmas celebration of buying gifts and getting invited to dinners.  After my sister and my mother came to Canada, I just went with the flow of family gathering and gift exchange, fulfilling a sort of family obligation.  Now I know clearly how I will celebrate my Christmas!

I will celebrate everyday by doing good things to others in my best capacity. — This, really is not about Christmas.  The good things that George Bailey had done to others had nothing to do about Christmas.  It just happened that the movie ended on a Christmas day.  And Christmas day, to me and to George, as far as doing good things to others, is just like any other day.

I wish my friends and anyone who have said “Merry Christmas” to me will instead, next time, bless me with “Happy Holidays!”

This entry was posted on Friday, December 24th, 2010 at 11:04 pm and is filed under Articles Available for Publishers, Canadian, Chinese, Just Being Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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