In the first episode of this series An Advent Story, we look into Milena’s family’s Christmas tradition in Colombia and how they prepare themselves towards Christmas with prayers and songs.
Episode 1 – Preparing Hearts – is available here:
- An Advent Story - Episode 1: Preparing Hearts - Transcript
An Advent Story - Episode 1: Preparing Hearts - TranscriptAuthor: Archdiocese of Brisbane
I am from Bogotá. Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia. And we do usually celebrate Christmas in Colombia many different ways. But in my family, usually we celebrate Christmas Eve. We prepare all the food on the 24th, during the day, we prepare like special tradition food. So we usually have that as a dinner on that day. So my family usually gathers at my Grandma’s house during the night and we have dinner usually after midnight. On that night, we usually get together with cousins, aunties, uncles, everyone is invited at Grandma’s house. And then we do pray a special tradition prayers the nine nights before Christmas Eve and that’s usually called Novena de Aguinaldos. On that day, every day or every night we gather with the family, we pray, we sing a special Christmas songs with the family and sometimes musical instruments.
Thankfully, I spent Christmas with my family last year, so it was 2022. I took my husband, well my husband is also Colombian, so my husband and my little boy, he’s five years old. So we went together and we spent last year’s Christmas. So it was amazing. Even though my Grandma passed away last year, she wasn’t there, but I know her spirit was there. So we made the Natilla and the Bunuelos and actually my little boy, he licked the pot because that’s very, very traditional. Like I remember when my Grandma used to make the Natilla, there was a big pot that when she finished it, to put it in the mould, I used to just use like just any spoon, wooden spoon, and just eat it by myself. And I was just like, I remember that since I was maybe two, you know, doing that when my grandma did that dessert. So this year I got pictures of my little boy doing the same thing. And I was so happy about it because that’s what I used to do when my Grandma was alive. So yeah, it was really special. Christmas with family, I think is the best.
In the Gospels, we hear many stories of people who encountered Christ in their lives. Are these stories so different from our own experiences of this season? On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus visited the house of Martha and Mary. Martha welcomed Jesus into the home and proceeded to get busy doing lots of work organising the home and preparing a big dinner. But Mary just sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk. Martha was very upset because she felt she was doing all the work while her sister did nothing. Martha prepared to encounter Christ in her house by cleaning, cooking and getting deeply caught up in the preparations. Mary prepared to encounter Christ by sitting and taking in his word. In the season of Advent, we prepare to encounter Christ in our lives, to meet him in the street and to welcome him into our homes. Milena and her Colombian family prepare for Christmas through a flurry of activity, cooking and a Novena, which is a nine day program of celebrations featuring lots of traditional dishes. What are the ways we prepare to celebrate the Christmas season? How do we prepare to encounter Christ at Christmas?