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Christ Beyond the Crib

By Johny Nedungatt, SDB
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Kolkata, Dec. 28. The Salesian novices of Nazareth Bhavan, Siliguri spent Christmas day this year with the children and the young people of the neighbourhood providing them fun and enjoyment through a variety of games.
Over 350 children and young people came to the novitiate campus at Siliguri on Christmas Day to spend the latter part of the day trying their skill and luck in various stalls prepared and managed by the novices with the help of the postulants of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians.  Taking assistance from Fr. Eugine Kujur and Cl. Robi Sarkar they prepared for the day well in advance with planning and organization.
As the children were seated on the ground for the inaugural function, carols were sung and the Christmas story was read.At the inauguration of the mela the Rector told the children that Christmas is a time of joy and the novices keeping this in mind wanted to share this joy with them.  After the inaugural function the children scattered themselves into the ten stalls where various games with attractive prizes, were conducted.

Year after year, after the Holy Mass on Christmas day, the novices spend the time organizing various games for the children.   Commenting on the experience of celebrating Christmas in this manner novice Jeremiah Jacob said, ''It was an experience which made me see Christ beyond the crib and other celebrations.''   Novice Bernard Mardi found the celebration of Christmas this year very different from other years. He said: ''The saying of Fulton J. Sheen, 'Divinity is always where one least expects to find it'  touched me so much that I wanted to share this joy of finding God in the manger with the children of our oratories''.
On a day when most would prefer to  take time out to be with friends or relatives and relax the community at Nazareth Bhavan chose to encounter the Babe of Bethlehem in the hearts of the little ones.
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