In Spain is tradition that the Three Wise Men, whose feast day is today, are the ones who bring the christmas gifts to the kids. Last night the Three Wise Men riding camels and accompanied with a court of knights riding horses, heralds and pages, came through one of the gates of the city walls that has a drawbridge.
The herald of the Wise Men requested that the sentinels lower the drawbridge to be able to enter the city but they told him that the door was closed because it was already late. Thousands of children, who waited anxiously, shouted: open it! open it!. Let them pass!
The herald repeated the request and said that the Wise Men had a very important mission in the city that night: bring the gifts to the children. Then, the doorman lowered the bridge amid the enthusiasm of the children.
The bells of the churches of old city began to chime and the three Wise Men with their accompaniment of knights and pages made their solemn entrance.
Later there was a cavalcade and despite the rain, thousands of kids and their parents were on the streets to see it.
This morning the kids will have found the gifts next to their shoes and a nice surprise, It was snowing!
(The photo with the Wise Man and the children is from the local newspaper. The photo of the snowfall is mine)
Now that my mom has passed away, her nest is empty. Her house, a meeting point for all of us, plenty of great remembrances, is now a sad and solitary place. The place where I used to go to find refuge and solace is gone.
Soon it will begin the time of Advent and after that, Christmas. Every year I used to spend many time with her, planning what to do, what presents get ready for the kids, how to set the simple grotto scene in the living room, under the Christmas tree full of decorations and lights.
And because she was so sick and paralytic, I was the one doing all that things under her loving directions, while we listened to traditional carols .
We used to laugh like kids at the slightest reason or without any reason at all.
I loved the moment when I had finished decorating the tree and the whole living room. It was usually at the evening. I used to turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree and the grotto scene and all the other decorations. Then I used to go to my mom’s room and bring her, pushing the wheelchair, to the living room.
The wonder in her face was my best reward. Her eyes were bright and smiling and my heart was dancing. I’m going to miss you so much, mom!
In the picture, my mom’s armchair, empty
Every Christmas eve, my dad used to build a grotto scene in the living room with little figurines of st Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Baby Jesus and the shepherds, under the Christmas tree.
He had a beautiful a valuable figurine of the angel who announced to the shepherds the good news and he always put it in the scene gingerly at the end. When the angel was in its place it meant that everything was ready and the feast could begin.
Then, we could gather around the scene and the tree and pray, sing carols and finally open the presents.
The figurine, dad’s angel, no more than six inches tall, was very artistically done had every finger modeled one by one and a very peaceful face. It’s been more than 60 years than my dad bought the figurine and it looks completely new.
Now my sister keeps it in her house. She also takes very good care of it. It brings very good memories of all those Christmas at our home when we were all together and happy, and everything had some kind of sweet magic.
Those were wonderful years and now we are trying to build similar memories for the youngest in our family so they could also treasure wonderful memories of family life
I will be celebrating Christmas these days. My best wishes for all of you. This is the grotto’s scene, done with little figurines and moss, that I set at my sitting room, where we gather to pray and sing carols at home.
Document a gathering and share your interpretation with us.
We have had a Christmas celebration in my city’s Journalists’ Association. We are friends, and we enjoy the opportunities to be together in a festive occasions not related with our work. It was fun. I took a picture of the group.
It might not be the longest street in my city, but its name is “major street”. and it connects the City Hall with the main roads to other cities.
Taking a walk through this street you can visit one of the oldest churches in town. The gothic church of St. Cernin.
main door of the church of St. Cernin
There is also a baroque palace with is now a Language School.
The Ezpeleta Palace
There are many little shops, some very ancient. There is an old drugstore where they sell all kind of cleaning products. Its owners have lots of canaries. When you enter the shop you feel transported to another era.
Only at the sight of the old worn wooden shelves and drawers and the XIX century cash register, you can feel nothing essential have changed in this local in the way they work, but they have all you can possibly need. From the newest brands to the old formulas. Besides, the shop is always enlivened by the melodious sound of the canaries, singing from the patio.
Traditionally, when the Christmas season approaches, the shop adds to their merchandise all kind of figurines for the traditional manger that the families put in their homes in Spain. These days their storefront shows little statuettes of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men, shepherds, angels, sheep and lambs, trees, mangers, caves, even there are miniature wells, mills and streams with running water.
Kids and parents use to have a great time mounting the manger scene in their houses every year for Christmas.
The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?
Over the years, Christmas has become a feast more and more intimate. I’m a person of faith, and for me, this is one of the most important feasts of the year. It comes after weeks of preparation thru the time of advent, and invites to pray contemplating the Child Jesus who comes to redeem us. I never get tired of the old traditions like singing carols in front to the Nativity scene, decorate the tree, interchange some presents, have dinner all together and go to the midnight Mass on Christmas eve.
Spend time together and pray together. That’s our Christmas’ essence. It may sound outdated or boring but it’s endearing and authentic. If you believe, it makes sense.
This is an Advent Crown. An old christian tradition to mark the progress of the four weeks of Advent in preparation for Christmas. Each candle means a week, and every Advent’s Sunday the family gathers around the crown to sing advent songs.
Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I pray this days with great intensity for the gift of peace. Peace in our lives. Peace for this troubled world. May God help us and bless us. Sincerely.
What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.
Christmas eve. December 24th was a magic day. My older sister arrived home from Madrid where she was working. We were finally all together. We missed her so much! My parents got separated by force during twelve years after she was born. So there is a big gap between her and the rest of us. We, “the four small ones” adored her. When she left us to go to work in Madrid it was a complete tragedy. Every time she returned home we celebrated as a great festivity. But the day had to begin without her.
Early in the morning we began to decorate the house with the little things we had crafted with mom’s direction the precedent Sundays. Mom was the decorator in chief. She made us feel we were the important ones in all the process, but she was the one doing the job before going to the kitchen to fix dinner. It was an exhausting day for her. Then we all went to help dad trimming the tree full of lights and candles and setting the scene of the grotto.
According to the tradition we set the scene under the tree. The tree represent the life and the light that emanates from Bethlehem, so our “little Bethlehem” representation was always under the tree. Every year our “little Bethlehem” was different. Dad made a little grotto with clay or wood pieces painted by him and set an elaborate landscape made with sand and little pebbles to mark paths and moss to represent fields of grass with figurines of sheep grazing here and there. There was even a river with real water in it and a clay made bridge over. In the grotto we set carefully the clay statuettes of the Virgin, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, and around the shepherds, the Wise Men with their presents and the angel. The angel was a statuette my dad liked very much. It was beautifully done, delicate.
When we were finishing and my mom was busy in the kitchen, my sister arrived. Big joy and excitement. She usually took us out for a walk. Wen we came back my dad was at the main room “talking with the angel” about us and our gifts. Closed doors. We waited impatiently outside, excited. When the angel had left the presents and was gone, my dad began to light the candles on the tree and the “little Bethlehem”. We could see the lights lighting one by one through the door’s crystal panels” It was the sign that we could enter. The room was only illuminated by the candles. We could see in the twilight our beautifully wrapped gifts, but we knew we had to wait to see what the angel had brought us. It was a magic. The twilight, the shiny parcels, the smell of moss, clay and candles, the excitement. My dad read the Gospel and we prayed. Then we all sang an ancient beautiful Croatian carol and only after that we turned on the lights to finally open our presents.
We all had late dinner and plenty of time after dinner to play with our new toys before was time to go to midnight Mass. It was a very solemn celebration with a beautiful liturgy and music. We met there all the other families, our friends and neighbors and wished them Merry Christmas. When we arrived home we were ready for bed after such a long and exciting day.
Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past.
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Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.
A bike. I wanted desperately a bicycle. All my friends had one. And they had a great time in the park riding. I wanted to play with them and ride with them, even race with them at full speed. But we didn’t have the money for such an expensive gift. Nevertheless I had my secret hope. Every year a charity organises in my city a sweepstakes in summer to raise money for the poor with donations. Those years the big prize was a bike donated by a shop owner. I always went with my savings to buy a ticket dreaming I was going to return home riding my new bike despite I didn’t know how to do it. I thought it was something easy and natural like walking. The ticket was my only chance. But I never had the good luck. Once I won a soup can. No fun. Other than that, nothing. All the rest where tickets without prize. At least my little savings went to the poor, I thought.
We always trimmed the Christmas tree and set a Bethlehem grotto’s scene with little clay statuettes for Christmas eve. When all was ready, my dad always had a secret meeting with an angel in that room to receive and set the Christmas gifts. When he had finished, he called us, who were waiting outside eager to see what had happened. All was dark except for the lights and candles in the grotto and the tree. Magic. My dad read the Gospel. We prayed, sang carols and then we turned on the lights and opened our gifts.
Once my dad had the meeting, we prayed, sang, the light turned on and we saw nothing. Before we get disappointed my dad told us to look carefully. My brother spotted a piece of paper beautifully crafted. It was a message in it: Our gift was in the balcony. The five of us run as fast as we could. And there it was. The bike. Green. Shiny. Waiting for all of us.
Daily Prompt: Out of Your Reach.
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