Today I went to the market near home to buy seafood for an appetizer I had to bring for tonight’s Christmas Eve dinner (Vigilia di Natale). According to Italian tradition, you eat seafood on Christmas Eve and meat on Christmas day. Since there is a lot of demand for fish on the 24th of December, you need to order seafood in advance. So I went to the market’s fishmonger and to my surprise they couldn’t find my order so they had to redo it (cleaning and preparing seafood included!!). That meant I had to wait for more than half an hour with little Ambrosina, who was hungry and crying!! To me this was the icing on the cake, or in Italian Christmas tone – as the picture portrays it – confectioners’ sugar on Pandoro (that is my daughter’s Xmas cap!).
This is why I don’t like Christmas nowdays: we are all caught up in buying presents, and going from one dinner to the other (if we are lucky to arrive on time due to traffic!!), choosing what to wear for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, buying food and preparing all the traditional Holiday goodies. In the end, preparing ourselves for Christmas is usually a very stressful venture.
Yet the real meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ – but we seem to completely erase it from our minds – and even worse – from our hearts. Being brought up as a Catholic, I had been taught that Christmas is about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is why we greet people with a “Merry Christmas.” Being born in Bethlehem in humble surroundings, Jesus came to the world to deliver God’s most important message: his LOVE.
As I was really mad for the long waiting and as I turned my head to see my little daughter, I realized that nothing matters to me the most than the love for my daughter – the most important gift God has given me.