My mother and my older relatives were very religious. My mother was very close to her siblings and her children.
My mother taught us to go to church every Sunday and to celebrate Mass on Holy Days. She taught us to dress up on Sunday, go to church, honor God, honor the day and spend time with family. Later, she encouraged us to become active at church, join the choir, teach Catechism and to feel love for our fellow man. She taught us so many songs, both for church and for Holy Days. She taught us to sing from our heart and to show love for our fellow man!
My mom always volunteered at the church. She used to cook for the priests and wash/iron their garments. She often used a stiff starch spray when she ironed to make sure the vestments were immaculate and very, very crisp.
Holidays were always special times. She taught us, as her mother taught her, the Posadas. During the Christmas Holidays, everyone helped to festively decorate the church. Las Posadas were a special time in our church. We reenacted Joseph´s journey with Mary to Bethlehem. Las Posadas started on December 16 and continued through Christmas Eve. Our families went to church every evening during this time for the reenactment. We went from house to house and sang songs. It was a beautiful time of togetherness. It also helped all of us understand the true meaning of Christmas. Mary and Joseph arrived at the inn and we were all welcomed in for the birth of Christ. When I think of those times, I think of the birth of Christ, the singing and the feeling that we were all joined together in this Celebration of the True Meaning of Christmas!
I remember a Christmas song my mother taught us as children and it still resounds in my memories today:
"Ya rompió el alba del día, nació el niño manuelito, cantemos con alegría, a la lu, Niño chiquito. A la lu, Niño chiquito. Cantemos con alegria, Cantemos con grande fe, alaven los dulces nombres de Jesus, Maria y Jose. De Jesus, Maria y Jose."
So sometimes, I think about all of us. Do you have a manger scene as part of your Christmas celebration? Do you honor the Baby Jesus on his Birthday Celebration? Christmas was never meant to be about commercialism or expensive gifts. It was always about honoring Christ´s birth, families and being together.
I miss those times and sometimes, I wonder, if our children and grandbabies remember the true meaning of Christmas.