Christmas in our Family – Part Two
Christmas is a special time for families. Here, two families share with the Catholic Voice how they celebrate Christmas and create a trove of memories for their children.
Christina Garufi – St Augustine’s, Yass
We love setting up the Nativity and Christmas tree and Advent Wreath as we journey to Christmas Night or Noche Buena as we call it. Mum finds a hiding place for baby Jesus and covers him so he doesn’t get cold as he awaits his birth.
We have daily reflections and sing “Villancicos” or carols as we light the candles on the Advent wreath. We also journey with Mary as we move a statue of a pregnant Our Lady called “Our Lady of Sweet Waiting” around our loungeroom. Nine days before Christmas we gather as an extended family to pray, sing and say “la Novena”. On Christmas Eve we go to Mass, have a special meal, exchange gifts and party into the early hours.
Anna and Keith Linard – Holy Rosary, Watson
As a Shire Engineer, I regularly took calls to fix potholes and for other problems needing attention. One Christmas, my wife and I bumped into a woman who had raised more than 20 issues in three months. Anna and I learned she was a widow. Her only son was in Perth and she would be spending Christmas alone. We invited her to spend Christmas with our family and over lunch the discussion turned to religion. We spoke about our involvement with the Focolare Movement and she sought books about our spirituality.
Over the ensuing months, once a week she would bicycle 4km to our house for a chat and to get books from our theology “library”. She returned to her church after many years absence, finding a community. That Christmas we helped bring Christ back into the life of a woman who was no longer lonely.
When our children were young, after Christmas Eve Mass we would meet at a sibling’s home for supper and to exchange gifts. We ran monthly Focolare children’s groups at our home with about 20 kids and, each Christmas, we had backyard carols and the kids would put on Christmas plays. On Christmas morning after Mass, we would go to Keith’s parents and his father would distribute presents amid joyful chaos. Elderly single and widowed aunts would be guests of honour at Christmas lunch.
Now we host a BBQ on Christmas evening and in the lead up to Christmas the grandchildren delight in decorating our house. We get them to set up several nativity scenes so they understand the true meaning of Christmas joy.