This is the second year without the presence of my mom on this earth anymore.
Used to dine with her out on this special day during her lifetime which happened to be also her birthday. The grief does get easier as the years go by. The first year is usually the most difficult.
Last year was the first year my husband got his new job in a Singapore based private hospital clinic here in Shanghai, and so he could not spend Xmas with me.
Last year, I spent Xmas eve in my mom’s Christian church in Happy Valley, we had brief worship service where I shed a few tears, a quick sermon, and also the Sing the carol around Happy Valley area, where people looked out of their flat windows and waved at us.
On Xmas day night, my eldest cousin David and his family treated me to a Mexican restaurant in Causeway Bay.
And I also attended the annually organized Christmas dinner gathering by my mom’s church on the day after Xmas.
This year, it is different. For Xmas Eve, I attended Carols and lessons with Abundant Grace International Fellowship (AGIF) in Shanghai, which my husband when he is off and I attend on a weekly basis. I voluntarily helped out collecting the hymn books and bulletins after service; and rearranged them in the correct order. So heartwarming to receive words of thanks from the people in the congregation.
I also continued attending Bible Study Fellowship. This academic year, we are studying the Book of Romans, we are done with the bad news. And now we are onto the good news and the daily news. Now is the holiday season, and so we are having a 3 week break from the class. Some chapters it is hard to understand, but through the group discussions, members shared different viewpoints, and grow in their spiritual journey. This year I am also promoted to be the secretary of the group leader, and my role is to take the roll call before the class starts. In order to encourage more people to join this class, the duration is cut from the original 2 hours to 1.5 hours, which is to cater for busy working mums and mums with young children and or toddlers.
The only thing that is different in Shanghai, is that besides the cold weather which now is usually around 7 to 9 degrees Celsius at night, there is no Xmas atmosphere nor decorations, unlike Singapore and Hong Kong. Also, Chinese people here do not really celebrate this special day, unless of course if they work with a Singapore or Hong Kong based company.
Taking this opportunity to also wish everyone from all over the world a very Merry Xmas and a blessed New Year 2018.