Christmas is a family event, we all know that. If you happen to be born into a Christian family you will probably spend Christmas visiting your mother’s house or she might be visiting you. If circumstances don’t allow you to travel, you will be probably connected with her somehow through facetime, a traditional call or simply wearing the ugly Christmas sweater she sent you as a present.
As a child I loved Christmas. I remember being seven years old and waiting for the biggest event of the year. I grew up in a small farmhouse surrounded by a large family of ten with my grandparents and a ninety-two-year-old great-grandma still living with us. Nobody seemed to enjoy the Christmas preparations as much as us, the kids. I would spend the whole afternoon together with my grandfather choosing the best Christmas tree we could find and then the evening with my grandmother rehearsing my repertoire of Christmas carols.
I felt happy and proud, but I do remember thinking:‘Why do grown-ups have to look so angry days before Christmas and then, on the day itself, put up a big smile?’
My mother was the biggest actress of all. We couldn’t touch any of the cookies and treats the days before Christmas. It was as if my mother and grandmother turned from these sweet normal women into some sort of masters of ceremony who would order us around and all we needed to do was to obey. But then, on the day itself, all of a sudden everything was possible.
So, what is the link between Christmas and mothers?
Well technically speaking, it all started with a mother – Maria – giving birth to baby Jesus. A poor pregnant woman travelling on a donkey and trying to find a warm house to settle in and give birth to her baby. Nobody would host them in their house, so she ended up sleeping in the between the sheep and that’s where her baby was born.
It is a story about hope and the importance of generosity and love between human beings. It is a pity that 2017 years later, at only 225 Km away from Bethlehem, in Damascus and nearby cities there are still poor mothers walking through the cold trying to find warmth and food for their children. Meanwhile, 3300 km away from Bethlehem, in NW Europe, mothers such as myself worry about which presents they should pack for their children’s teachers.
Christmas is not about the office dinner parties with people you half like, it is not about the presents for the people who already have way too much and it is not about searching the best Amazon deals for the latest toy trends. My plea for mothers this Christmas is to stop for a minute and think about where it all started – a mother giving birth to a baby that brought hope into the world.
Let’s use Christmas as an opportunity to give time to our children – time to play and time to teach them about the importance of giving and of being kind towards people in need. Maybe like that, our children will remember us smiling on more days then only on Christmas-day itself.