“Mum…why is baby Jesus wearing a sari?” my six-year-old son worriedly enquired as we entered Our Lady of Angels church in Pondicherry, India. My eyes followed his pointing finger and there to my delight was the statue of Mary wearing a sari and baby Jesus swaddled in a frilly pink satin dress. “Jesus is a boy you know!” he exclaimed adamantly.
I had to smile as we looked around and noticed that all the statues were “dressed” up for Christmas day. It was my son’s first taste of the true colours of India that pervade all parts of life there. He soon got over his disgust when he was handed some Indian sweets with the order of service sheet. As we sat down on the divine old rattan pews I looked down at the sheet of paper and realised the service was in French. Ooh la la! What a treat. My husband and I called on our rusty school French and muddled through the service. The boys on the other hand didn’t even realise the service was in French as they had made friends with some Indian children sitting next to us. Although they didn’t speak the same language they enjoyed the unspoken joy of showing each other their Christmas day Santa gifts!
Being in India for Christmas is always very special. Although India is a country of many religions the spirit of Christmas is still visible. Touches such as a Santa security guard, Christmas decorations and Christmas trees really made us smile on our last visit to Pondicherry.