Thursday, December 10, 2009


                                   Kelapa Gading mall, Dec 2009        

X'MAS memories

What first flash, cross to my mind and imagination whenever Desember coming every year. The movies in my mind will turn, rolling on and off  of diffrent memories in other decades from childhood till recently.

Kids era
It was long time ago when I was a kid, far away in the west part of North Sumatera, exactly in a very small village, 23 kilometer away, outside of Sibolga city, named Sitahuis (come from Dutch Stad + huis) and in Sibolga city, when we moved there later.

For kids in our village, December and New Year mean a happiest moment, when our parent forced to buy a new shoe and new clotch at least a pair or maybe more and had become a tradition for a long long time. Years later I thought where my parents or other households got the money to afford it. Did they saved for sometime in advance before Christmas time. I have no idea.

Celebration took place in the church from the first week of  December because a lots of school scheduled, took turn to used the same building. The sweet memories would never die were when we, 5 - 7  pupils stood in front of the altar facing the congregation and families who watching their kids or siblings.
All stand up tight bright's faces, smiles, some tremble, ashame, low esteem using the brand new shoe and clotches.

One by one speak up as loud as possible in the middle of crowding audiences - in spite of inside the church building - every body speak one or more verses without reading the Bible nor the notes. They just memorized it after rehershals many times at home.

Mostly they speak fluently, but some forget the full verses and needed to repeated with slight read face or lips curves nor smile. That was unforgerable memories in my life.That is why when we had grown up, we knew some Christ history verses well, that we memorized it since our childhood.

The traditions of Christmas mostly had the  celebration by a special ritual designated for Christ Yesus birthday and in that time its not common to shake hand and say "Merry Christmas". Maybe its a little bit strange for others to know.

The big celebration itself will coming soon a week later right after mid night of  December 31th.
A few seconds before midnight, every household would summoned the family members, wait until  the Churches bell  ring a litle longer than usual , the Ship horns shouting loud and long from the port not far in the coast. The family would start to sing a song or more, pray, say thanks to God for a year blessed just ending and asking bless for new year to come.

The next ritual was a small talk of apoloqized wrongdoings of every member of the family start from the youngest child. The closing ritual  was shake hand, kissing and hugg along with cakes and beer, beverage and lemonade distributed.

Everybody obligated awake till down, enjoy the generous dringking and cakes homemade once a year while waiting for our big families or neighbours to come to say "Merry XMas and Happy New Year", since my parents were an older in the big families.
Again Merry Christmas not congratulated in December, but passed a second after midnight,  January 1st. and beyond, as long as January ended.

Student era
The second,  I couldn't went out from my mind the memory when I was a student at Yogjakarta, Central Java  Not much to be told in student era, except, we are as  a group youngsters members of Batak's church HKBP at Kotabaru, soon after midnight of December we visit several households of Batak family, who working or as a Student (with his wife and kids) in Yogjakarta.

We sing in a vocal group, along with a guitar until down then ready for Church, New Year service. No big celebration in students enviroment at that time, since all lived very simple, depend solely to the accomodation send by parents far away in North Sumatera.

Bank BRI era
What the memories remembered  when I was a Branch manager and Information Technology manager in Bank BRI.
Unfortunatedly I had negleted the list of costumers who presented the baskets in X'Mas and Idulfiry as well.
My guest's room almost full of multicolours wrapping cakes, beverages, cookies, plates, glasses and many more things with name tage displayed.

This happened a decade from 1982 - 1992 in small towns and Jakarta as well and become a traditional that seem it were normal at that time. But years later to be questions in my heart and mind that did my costumers presented the basket to the needy one ? If not, its become a bad habit. Years later Goverment formally banned the basket presentation to Goverment officials. Basket packet bussiness became diminished lately

Vacation in States
Thanks God that gave my family the opportunities to spend the holiday abroad especially on Christmas season that not every body got the same blessings. And off  course thanks to Bank BRI too.
At least my family - wife and 4 kids - spend the holidays at Las Vegas, San Fransisco, North California and Philadelphia, east coast, US.

Its never planned before that someday I could afford to spend such a lot of  money for the vacation with all my family members. In every opportunities, I try my best to insert in my courses or training schedule  vacation in the middle of my duties.

In such occasion my company had gave the allowances rate a little bit generous, enough to afford 3 - 4 of my family members. Plus I took advantage to spend 2 weeks working day vacation every year.

The X'Mas memories with 4 kids while they were in the College, will never erased from my mind, even recently 3 of them lived apart with their spouse and kids.

The Chrismas season, December always be a sweet memories to be remembered

The year 2009 my church organized a special celebration by centralized Christmas service in Jakarta's downtown at BPPT building. Assigned committee this year, headed by Teddy Lubis. Approximately will attend by thousand of congregations coming from Jakarta and surrounding. In that event on behalf of small church, Post Tegal Alur,  my poem below (Indonesia version) will read by Diana, a Tegal Alur Sunday:

         by. Pnt.P.Situmeang

Roaring airplane loudly overhead
Noisy game on line next door overheard
Residing in the narrow, crowded housing
Where we bowed down the new born King

Hi Nazareth, a small village in the hill of Galilee
Where angel Gabriel talked a prophecy to Maria
Hi Betlehem, a narrow and stinky stable available
Where Mangus and shepherds bowed down to the Saviour

New Post just two paces forward away
Congregation of poor and misery
Our shortage of wisdom of all things
Where we welcome all Shepherds to serve

            oleh Pnt.P.Situmeang

Berdesing suara pesawat diangkasa
Ditimpali suara game dirumah sebelah
Terjepit di gang yang sempit
Disana kami menyembah Raja yang baru lahir

Hai Nazareth, kampung kecil di bukit Galilea
Kesana  malaikat Jibril menyapa Maria
Di Betlehem, hanya kandang sempit yang tersedia
Kesana para Majus dan Gembala menyembah

Pos yang baru menapaki 2 langkah
Jemaat Diakonia, miskin dan duafa
Kemampuan kami yang tak seberapa
Kesana kami menanti Anda para Gembala

Merry Christmas, God bless you all
GKI Kwitang, 28 Des 2009

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