Sunday, December 11, 2005

December leaves

December is a month that never fails to evoke mixed feelings in me. It is mostly a hectic month, as if we are all trying to squeeze in as much fun and activities into these final 31 days of the year before we bid it goodbye and also to make the most of the remaining school holidays with the kids at home before the new term starts.

And of course, December is synonymous with the Yuletide celebrations, the parties and the feasting whether you are a Christian or not. If you think Christmas in Malaysia is celebrated only by the Christian folks, you are very wrong indeed. I believe that it is a very multi-racial celebration here in Malaysia. Maybe it has something to do with all the commercialism associated with it. To the non-Christians, Christmastime is one more big excuse to dress up, exchange gifts, get together with friends and family, eat to your heart's content or party the night away, whichever is your fancy.

Actually, I kinda like the festive air that comes with Christmas celebrations in the big cities here. This is the time when I especially enjoy going to the shopping malls. There's the feel-good music in the air, lots of bright coloured fake Christmas trees done up spectacularly with all the trimmings and twinkling lights, the tinsel and the ribbons adorning almost all shop windows, and the occasional guy dressed up as Santa. Never mind that the fake snow and absurd suggestions of a White Christmas in tropical Malaysia being put up by some advertisers seems really really silly to me. At least it made me smile, eh? And I get to hum along Bing Crosby's mesmerizing voice singing "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas ..."

But December also is the time for me to contemplate events of years past. To think of all the people who have come and gone in our lives, to be nostalgic and to try to forgive and move on past events that have brought hurt and tears, whether intentional or otherwise. It is also the time when I think of all the lovely and cherished memories of people I have loved and lost and to say a prayer of thanks for all the good times that we have had and to be grateful for their presence in my life, even though I lament their absence and wished that I could have had more time with them. And that inevitably leads me to take stock of my priorities in this life and appreciate the relationships that I still have in the present moment.

As the days get closer to the new year, I do get more melancholic with the realization that the years seems to be whizzing by. I'm barely able to just catch hold of it, pin it down, seize the moments and make them precious enough to add to my storage of good memories. Maybe I need to run faster next year to catch up with Father Time. I'm feeling pretty left behind, still a child within but the reflection in the mirror is someone I barely recognizes. When and how did I grow up so fast?



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