Friday, December 14, 2007

A Migrant Child´s Christmas

At Christmastime, Mom taught us to celebrate Christmas in a special way. We were Catholic and we believed Christmas meant we were celebrating the Birth of Christ. Starting two weeks before Christmas through to January 6 of the New Year (the Feast of the Epiphany), every evening at 7:00 pm, our family gathered in the living room and said the Rosary.

As in most Hispanic family homes, we always had a crucifix and a small altar in our Living Room. During Christmas time, mom decorated the altar with the Nativity scene. My mother loved ceramics and so our Altar was always very special. Each figure was made of hand painted porcelain ceramics standing about six to ten inches tall. Mom would find straw either from a farm or craft store. She used the Christmas lights to string across the top of the roof. The baby Jesus had a beautiful, radiant face and was carefully layed in a manger, filled with straw. He lay atop a handmade silk blanket and mom hand sewed his silk baby gown. Mary kneeled on his right, Joseph on his left. The Shepherds and their sheep were on the right, the three wise men on the left. An Angel perched from Heaven above as if to say “Hosanna in the Highest.”

At exactly 7:00pm, our parents and all of my siblings stopped whatever we were doing, picked up our rosaries, found our favorite spot facing the altar, knelt down and started to pray. Usually our Mom led the rosary, saying the first half of each prayer as the rest of us contributed the last half, in unison.

For those not familiar with the rosary, it is said in five sections, with the leader reciting the appropriate “Mystery” of the rosary after each section. We followed the tradition and added a song after each mystery.

Our Dad was so strict about our speaking English at home, but he did make an exception for the Rosary. While we said the prayers in English, Mom often read the Mysteries from her Spanish prayer book. She also taught us a special song to sing at Christmas during the Rosary. It was in Spanish. It was a song her mother taught her as a child. It went like this: “Ya rompió el alba del día, nacio el Niño Manuelito. Cantemos con alegría, Alalu, Niño Chiquito. Alalu, Niño Chiquito.”

It was a short, simple song with a very beautiful melody. Two of us rocked the baby Jesus as we sang it.

It´s funny. When I think about my childhood Christmases, I don´t think about toys or gifts of any kind. Instead, I think of the rosaries we always said. Each year, as I put up my Christmas decorations, I make sure to put my Nativity scene right over the fireplace. As I am putting it up, I keep hearing that beautiful melody playing, “…Alalu, Niño Chiquito. Alalu, Niño Chiquito.”

Those are the memories you never forget!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dee,

I am for "compassionate deportation"

I think there are good people on both sides of this issue.

I humbly suggest that we all start considering some "confidence building measures"

In other words, both sides give a little bit, step back and see how it works, then come back to the table and give a little bit more.

Let me put the following on the table.

Let's say that the pro side gives up on the 14th ammendment. The law is changed stating that babies born to the undocumented are no longer citizens.

At the same time, one million of the undocumented are given amnesty.

We then step back and see the impact that these two confidence building measures have on our country. If they seem to be working well, then both sides go back to the table and negotiate another small step.

I am not a moron. I know that la raza will hate me for ending the 14th ammendment. And i know that most antis will hate me for contemplating amnesty for one million people.

but we, as a nation, have to consider starting down the path to a compromise.

Be aware that a giant compromise, a compromise that amnesties a large number of the undocumented, just won't fly this time, so we need to start small

Just my humble thoughts

Dee said...

Anon,
Your ideas are always interesting and unique. I appreciate your heart being in the right place.

I also agree that all of us need to come together for a compromise.

I hope all is well with you this Holiday Season.

Would you do me a favor and give yourself a nickname when you post? Maybe something unique and nice like "Angelo" or "Oliver".

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Dee

I am for compassionate deportation

and that is not a popular stand

I prefer to post anon rather than have an ID that can be tracked back to me

My specific point is that a GRAND HUGE compromise like 1986 is not in the cards now. The antis feel that they made a deal with la raza in 1986 and la raza betrayed them (for good reason in my humble opinion - la raza did not keep their side of the deal)

so i am calling for some small steps , small compromises , incremental compromises

Liquidmicro said...

Anon is on a fair path, Dee doesn't want anything less than amnesty and talk of sanctions and sovereignty. Anon is correct in stating:My specific point is that a GRAND HUGE compromise like 1986 is not in the cards now. The antis feel that they made a deal with la raza in 1986 and la raza betrayed them (for good reason in my humble opinion - la raza did not keep their side of the deal).

If the OPEN BORDERS GROUP would allow the laws currently on the books to be enforced, instead of law suits, we may not need any further legislation, nor any compromise. We compromised the last 7 times since 1986, and have received nothing on our side, yet they still want more on theirs. Its now our turn to get what was promised. No compromise at all!!!

Anonymous said...

liquid micro,

i am not challenging you in any way,

but can you make clear what you mean by seven compromises since 1986?

All i know is that a compromise was made in 1986 - amnesty in exchange for enforcement in the future - and the enforcement never came.

That was the grand betrayal.

Can you tell us if similar things have happened since 1986 since i don't know of them

Liquidmicro said...

Congress has passed 7 amnesties for illegal aliens, starting in 1986.

1. Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986: A blanket amnesty for some 2.7 million illegal aliens

2. Section 245(i) Amnesty, 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens

3. Section 245(i) Extension Amnesty, 1997: An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994

4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty, 1997: An amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America

5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA), 1998: An amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti

6. Late Amnesty, 2000: An amnesty for some illegal aliens who claim they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty, an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens

7. LIFE Act Amnesty, 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens

8. Nine current bills are vying to be Amnesty No. 8

Dee said...

Liquid,
Now you are calling any form of sanctuary a mistake? Even for the poor Haitian refugees? My gosh Liquid. Have you no heart at all?

Dee said...

During this Christmas Season Liquid, can you suggest any form of compromise or compassion in your argument? Even a sliver of hope in your suggestions?

Liquidmicro said...

I can... All 'Illegals' can go back to their countries, sent via repatriation at no charge to the 'Illegal', and spend time with their families (my compassion), you can apply for the appropriate visa from your native country (my compromise) in order to return, no visa, no crossing the border.

Liquidmicro said...

My heart lies with my family, and my country.

The Haitians were only given 125,000 amnestied, how about we give the same now? only 125,000 of the 12 - 20 million should be given amnesty, the rest sent packing.

Dee said...

Here are some examples of Compassion.

My sisters and I all sang in our church choir. My oldest sister is 10 years older than me. She started the tradition by joining choir during her senior year in high school. When my next oldest sister was in high school, she joined. When I entered high school, I joined, then my two younger sisters did the same.

During Holiday Seasons, when all were in town, we all sang in our hometown church choir. Three of my sisters were sopranos. Two of us were Altos.

Our Choir Director was a very compassionate man. He treated all members the same, old or young, white, black or brown, rich or poor. He was tough on all of us. He was well schooled in voice and had a beautiful, glowing tenor voice.

He taught us to sit up straight, sing from our diaphram and sing with our full voice. He taught us to sing a capella. He took us through very boring voice exercises until we thought we would drop. He taught us other exercises like practicing at home and holding your nose while you sang to test whether you were singing through your nose. He taught us breathing exercises. He taught us to sing from our heart, like we meant it. He said he could tell the difference because when we sang fromt the heart, he would get goosebumps.

He didn´t have to teach us to do all this. None of us were rich. He was barely paid by the church. He could have been another Pavarotti but he chose to stay in a small town, living life with his family, teaching at a nearby college.

He taught us to sing Gregorian Chants, Mendelsohn, Brahms,Bach and songs of all of the great composers.

During Christmas times, he brought in the timpani, sometimes with flutes and a harp.

We were a rag tag choir of a few former migrant workers and elderly church ladies and gentlemen. People who came to hear us were astounded by our sound, this small group in such a large cathedral. We once hosted the choirs of the city and all were just amazed by our sound.

My choir director gave us these beautiful gifts to carry with us all of our lives. He was a Humanitarian!

Liquidmicro said...

He was a teacher, not a humanitarian. His compassion was to teach voice. My compassion is to teach Arboriculture, every client I talk to I try to educate them on the trees and landscape.

Your stories are intriguing, however, your perception of what they are, is nothing more than your willingness to learn from what someone has taught you.

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