Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus's Christmas Tree

Christmas is the season of Christmas tree, and carol songs. For me they bring back the life of a mentally unstable man Named “Baby” (Those who know English will laugh at this, but it’s a common name in our state), who was a neighbour and an active member of our church. His father was a pastor in our church years back, even before my birth. Baby had one younger brother and sister each. Sister named Mary was a chronic mental patient. All of them were unmarried and they all lived together in the same house.

It was too pathetic to be addressed as a house. A tiled roof erected on four brick made pillars. Thatched walls, up to the lintel level and the rest open. Rooms were separated by plastic sheet. Cold wind of December and rain of monsoon gave them their due on their respective seasons. That was the only house there with no electricity. I never knew how they managed to live. Baby earned a living by doing manual labour work for neighbours, and most of them often fooled him by not giving proper wages.

During Christmas season, 23rd and 24th of December every year will be the days dedicated for Carol singing. It will start by 7 'o' clock in the evening and end by 6 am in the next day. Whole night we will be singing.

And that was the only time, I used to visit his home, to take him to church, because both of us used to go together to church for joining the carol singers.

When someone visited his house, he used to become too nervous, biting nails, walking here and there, keep on talking nonsense, singing what ever comes to his mouth and so on. I used to sit on his bed, covered with ragged cloth. No mattress, no mat nothing. Just torn away cloths. He knew how to play flute, and there he used to play it saying “I will play this song this time”

One Christmas season, when I visited his home to take him to church, I saw News paper rags spread all around his bed. In reply to my question he told “I will show you”, and led me to the front side of his house. There was a small tree, which was decorated by the news paper rags in an untidy manner, fluttering with least aesthetic sense. On top a faded pinched star hanged like a reminder of his poverty, which he had collected from somebody’s backyard dust bin. I sensed out a mild pain growing inside my heart caused by watching the attempts made by him to make his Christmas merry , and thought of giving some colour crape papers to decorate his tree, which I couldn’t do.

And on that night, just before the carol singers reaching his home, he went to his home. And when we were there, we were astonished to see Baby mad and perplexed like anything, busy in lighting candles from top to bottom of the tree decorated with paper rags. At one stage I feared whether he would burn his house, as it was thatched, which was so easy to catch fire. He was nervous, running around the tree. The papers hanging around caught fire, which he himself extinguished. But the Christmas tree was brilliantly beautiful in spite of the worst and least decorations. He was uttering something in a low voice, and others were a bit frightened to see all these. And a few even asked to blew off the candles fearing his house would catch fire, because the tree was almost near to his house.

That was the only beautiful Christmas tree I have ever seen, which Jesus might have visited and enjoyed. Each and every Christmas season, stars, and Christmas trees remind me of Baby and his impoverished Christmas tree. Baby died last year in an asylum, with no one to recognize, and look after, was buried like a stranger in some cemetery.

The moment which gave me a shock , and think about the biblical human values even I myself hold was that, when an official from the asylum called our church to make arrangement for his burial, our church pastor, and church wardens told them,

“We don’t know anyone named like that, and there is no such a member in this church”.


~Cheryl said...

Thank you for the reminder to whom the Kingdom of God belongs. You have shared a very powerful story. Thank you.

Binoy Mathew said...

thank you