This year's Christmas is a different one for me. Previously, I set my own "tradition" to not leave the house for a few days before and after Christmas so that I can spend time listening to my Christmas music and watching my Christmas movies. Well, the music is still on but I absolutely have no time for the Christmas movies. Instead, I read 2 books to build up the Christmas mood. I can't remember when I bought the books or when the last time I read them. Haha.. I could only recall vaguely what the story is about so the time is ripe for me to re-read them. Anyway, they are the only Christmas-related books that I own.
The first one is called The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. Pardon me for the tiny picture as I cannot find a good one online. Thanks to the newer (but uglier) cover of the 2011 version. The story is about a disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon who had been banned from taking domestic flights due to some security misunderstanding at the airport. Tom now had to take train from Washington to LA to spend Christmas with his girlfriend. He met interesting people on board and this was what made train trip special: strangers form bonds during the short time together. Unexpectedly, he met his ex who happened to be the love of his life on the train. With theft on board, blizzard, and plenty of romance, this part detective, part disaster, and part romance is a brilliant, heart-warming holiday tale. The ending may be a "cliche" to many but I think it captures the spirit of Christmas: to give presents (suprises!) to people who are dear to your heart.
The second book is The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. Despite the title, the mystery is actually not something horror. The story is about a young boy with an Advent Calendar. Each window comes with an interesting story about a procession which travels back both in time and in space to the birth of Christ in Betlehem. Is the story somehow related to the small girl who went missing on a Christmas Eve 40 years ago? With every element of Christmas (advent calendar, angels, the 3 Wise Men, the sheep, biblical quotes, and Christianity history), it is an amazing read for Christmas. I wonder whether this is based on real historical events of angel sightings around Europe? Hmm.. No time to google it.. The ending is quite nice although the kidnapping part is a big question mark. Haha..
Another half an hour before Christmas but I would just wish every one a very Merry Christmas. Do not forget about the one who matters most on this special day: the birthday Boy!! On this note, Happy Birthday Jesus. I apologise for, again and again, failing to bring a special birthday gifts for you T_T
I would like to end with a quote from The Christmas Mystery book which I think summarises Christmas nicely.
"It would be find to work out how many kilos of stones and timber have been used to celebrate Jesus's birth, not to mention how many cakes have been baked or how many parcels have been packed. Christmas is the world's biggest birthday party, for everybody in the whole world is invited to join in. That's why the party has lasted for so many years."
I am not being biased. Based on my own experience, Christmas has always been a special and magical time to me, even before I became a baptised Catholics. Despite all the criticism about secularisation and commercialisation of Christmas, I think it is part of spreading of Christmas magic and joy. You don't need to know Jesus to experience Christmas joy. Yup.. because God's Christmas message is always about love and peace and love and peace are universal.