Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Tree In A Fern

The Christmas tree is said to have its roots in the mysterious concept of the "tree of paradise". Of the more credible stories I have heard about it, one relates to Saint Boniface. Saint Boniface was the patron saint of Germany, a missionary who preached Christianity during the 8th century in the Frankish Empire. A legend of the Christmas tree, perhaps the earliest, relates to the time St. Boniface (Apostle of Germany) was sermonizing against idolatry to a tribe of Germanic Druids. To prove that oak tree was not sacred and inviolable, he fell one on the spot. As the tree toppled over, it crushed everything which came in its way, except for a small fir sapling. Saint Boniface conjectured the survival of the fir as a miracle, and proclaimed it as "Tree of Christ". It thence became a tradition to celebrate Yule Tide by planting and nurturing fir saplings.

As a child, I did insist on buying a glitzy little replica of a Christmas tree which I would decorate with shiny bells and stars humming away "Star of wonder, star of light." I knew many carols in my innocent days, which are now fading away from my memory. One which I remember distinctly still is
Long Time Ago In Bethlehem
So The Holy Bible Says
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas-day
Hark now hear the angels sing
A new king born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas-day.
This carol has a nice chime to it, which recreates all the memories from my school days, where our teachers genuinely endeavoured to inculcate in us the spirit with which the festival should be celebrated. Whether it was those innocent 'Merry X-Mas' cards we made, or the repeated story telling sessions of 'A Christmas Carol'- there is much I miss as I type out this post with my fingers freezing over the key board. Yes, a nice family dinner, complete with a ritualistic plum cake will form a part of my celebrations. What I do not have this year, though, is a nice Christmas Tree- which I really wanted to decorate and which would have added a glow to the otherwise blanketed by winter, lazy atmosphere of my home.

However, not having the tree is not really making me morose for now. In fact, thanks to the plethora of wonderfully positive statuses I have read since oooo hours on facebook, conveying wishes from virtual unknowns to more unknowns, I have this feeling which has begun to grow on me with surprising intensity. I'm being lulled into believing that occasions like Christmas are to step back and invest time on counting one's blessings and making efforts to preserve and cherish them. The wonderful charisma of the Yule festival does, for some signify the impending close of a year- for others, it brings with itself the optimism of preparing and planning for an altogether, yet untouched new year with promises and opportunities we neither know nor can guess about. More often than not, life becomes pretty or ugly simply by what we choose to see in it. Said a very smart man once- 'Twixt the optimist and pessimist/ the difference is droll/ the optimist sees the doughnut/ the pessimist the hole.

Alright, so now I am happy, and looking forward to not just a day, but a whole week of fun, optimism and celebrations, till I settle down into a new year with some new responsibilities and some old dreams firmly planted in my heart and mind. What is the most beautiful thing about Christmas for me? It is the description defying aura which this festival builds around itself. So powerful is the spirit surrounding the festival, that it ensnares all- who own this festival and those who simply choose to flow along with its bliss. I began my Christmas by making a wish- a secret and seemingly impossible, but a wish nonetheless. Baking a cake is next on my agenda. Calling friends, catching up on missed details will form a sure part of my day today. And when I am done laughing and sharing this festive mirth, a Christmas movie, tucked away in front of the tv in a warm quilt on my couch, would just be great to end my day with. Should it be Its A Wonderful Life? Or, no. Since romance is the flavor of the season, may be Serendipity, with all its lucky coincidences, and faith igniting madness would be a better prescription for my romantic health.

And for all the lovely people I know, and who know me- I wish you a very happy holiday season! I hope you all have the best time of year today, and still better times as more days and years go by. May you create the happiest memories for yourself and others, and learn to value everything of value in your life. Count your blessings, if you are to celebrate the day as I will. May be, share with me what are the things that make you feel blessed, or simply happy for existing. The love and blessings of our parents, the warmth and comfort of near and distant family and the infinite care/concern/love showered on us by a few close friends are the common blessings we all should be happy about. I know I can witness life's largesse in the small blessings it bestows on me. I can imagine my whole  elusive tree in a little fern which serves me more than that tree as a favorite bookmark surviving all the seasons of a year. I'm sure with a little effort you all can see God's infinite  grace too.
Psst...for all my special ones, and you all well know I am talking about you, I do remember you all in my prayers. No kidding. I actually do. 

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

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