One of the sweetest moments about Christmas morning is spending it with the people you love and sharing those special traditions together. As you know, I’ve always loved to travel and would spend time looking at various cultures, learning about their traditions. This year is my first Christmas married and living in Romania. Instantly in our home, we will have 4 cultures that will influence our day: Scottish; Romanian; Chinese; and American.
Christmas Around the World
Traditionally, in my home growing up, we would celebrate in our own Scottish way. The week leading up to Christmas, put up our Christmas tree, stick cloves into oranges, make shortbread and watch a Christmas film while wrapping all the gifts in glorious shiny tartan wrapping paper. Of course, you couldn’t forget the bow! Our Christmas meal was around the late afternoon and we ALWAYS had turkey with all the right sides! Roasted potatoes, pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon), carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce and the dreaded brussel sprouts.
Since being in Romania, we’ve been invited to celebrate the season with some of our fellow church believers. And the traditional way, especially in the villages, is to roast a pig. Unable to attend, we heard the pig weighed a whopping 150 KG! Enough to feed everyone and more. No celebration is complete without saramale (stuffed cabbage rolls), cozanacs (fruit breads) and various carols. “Crăciun Fericit” translates as Merry Christmas!
Being half Chinese, I thought it would be interesting to see how my family would have celebrated. With Christmas being a Christian holiday and only a small percent of the population are believers, not many people know the significance of the season. There aren’t many families in China that celebrate Christmas.
In the States, the traditional meal is turkey or ham, stuffing or potatoes with cranberry sauce. The children build gingerbread houses while sneaking some of the decorations. The smell of freshly baked cookies fill the kitchens of homes all across the vast country. In recent times, the festivities and Christmas cheer often starts immediately after ‘Thanksgiving’.
True Meaning of Christmas
I say all this to say, many people celebrate and look at Christmas differently. We may eat turkey instead of pork or wrap gifts with certain types of paper, but ultimately that’s not what is important. We celebrate Christmas because it is all about the birth of Jesus, where the God who created the heavens and earth came to earth as a baby to give us hope of salvation. This should give us reason to celebrate!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
This past Sunday, our church celebrated with a Christmas program. The Sunday School kids were excellent! One narrator said, “Through Christmas we have hope. We can celebrate as we’re given hope of a personal relationship with a gracious God.” Truly this is the reason we celebrate. If we take away all the decorations, presents and food, we still can celebrate the joy of Christmas! Oh what a joyous day that was when Christ was born.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:14
In this festive season, take time to celebrate with your dear family and remember the wonderful reason for the season. Many times, we read the Christmas story together and share about the hope we have in Jesus.
From my family to yours, both near and far, we wish you a…
Nollaig Chridheil! Crăciun Fericit! Seng Dan Fai Lok/聖誕快樂! Merry Christmas!