Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas in my watercolors

Christmas Eve procession with baby Jesus

My childhood memories of Christmas in Malta is still vivid in my mind. Recently I painted two such memories, which actually happen within minutes of each other on Christmas Eve. The first one is a procession with Baby Jesus, as children carry the statue of Jesus in a manger through the streets of towns and villages, singing Christmas carols and carrying lanterns, lights and other religious symbols, usually with quotes from the bible story of the Nativity. The procession ends in the parish church of the particular town, where the next painting takes place.
Altar boy sermon at Midnight Mass
This scenes represents what happens at the midnight Mass, where a young child, frequently an altar-boy delivers the Christmas sermon, obviously after memorizing it from the beginning to end. This scene shows my childhood parish church of St. Julian’s during the sermon delivered by an altar-boy. Unfortunately I was never chosen to preach the sermon as a young boy, but then when I became a priest, I realized why - because I would have to spend the rest of my life preaching. Moreover in my first 4 years as an Assistant pastor in my hometown, I was asked to write the sermon and teach it to a young boy. My first one in 1977 was delivered by a young boy, Raymond Calleja, who has since become quite a comedian, a stand-up comic artist that is very popular in Malta, appearing regularly on TV, even presenting a program of his own. Incidentally, 2 years ago, he interviewed me on live TV, reconnecting some great memories and stories from the mid 1970s.
TV interview with Ray Calleja

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