12/23/2016, 16.46
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Christmas for a Catholic family in Sri Lanka means donating clothes and food to the poorest

by Melani Manel Perera

A Catholic mother convinced her family to have a different Christmas. They saved money for a month and decided not to have gifts in order to help two poor families, one Catholic and one Buddhist. “What I want is for my children to learn the true meaning of Christmas,” she said.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – In Sri Lanka, a Catholic family has decided to spend Christmas with two other less well-off families, one Catholic and one Buddhist, to whom they will donate food and clothing.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Miriam Perera said that she managed to convince her family to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a different way.

In fact, the gifts that Miriam will bring to two poor families are from the money she and her children gave up in order to bring a smile and a bit of comfort to those who need them the most.

“The inspiration to this gesture,” Miriam said, "comes from the Holy Family. I wanted to celebrate this Christmas in a more meaningful way. I know I cannot change the whole world or my country, but I can at least try to honour in a truer way Christmas with my family."

The 52-year-old woman lives near Colombo with her husband, an employee at a private company, and two school-age children.

Last month, she proposed “sharing Christmas with caring love for others". Initially, her family did not react enthusiastically. “Have you gone mad!” one of her children said upon hearing the idea of ​​saving money for someone else and giving up gifts.

However, as days went by, and thanks to Miriam's loving explanation, the whole family joined in, and put together some 30,000 rupees (US$ 200). With the money, she bought food and clothes.

So tomorrow, the family will spend Christmas eve with another Catholic family in a village not far from home. Together, they will attend Christmas mass, but before that Miriam will donate good clothes to the other family, especially bought for them.

For Miriam, their hosts do not have enough room for her and her family, so they will stay at a nearby inn and will return the next day with food for the Christmas dinner partly prepared before leaving.

Her children will play with the daughter of the other family, and everyone will spend time in peace and joy.

On the afternoon of the 25th, Miriam and her family will visit the second poor family, who are Buddhists, to whom they will give some money for their farming activity.

Miriam does not seek fame. "I'm not the only one doing something like this,” she said. “There are so many other Christians who do the same. What I want is for my children to learn the true meaning of Christmas."

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