The National, Wednesday 28th December 2011
IT is the festive season.
And it is the season of madness: at busy airports, in overcrowded shops and in drunken parties and at frenzied activities in homes.
Automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout the country are being emptied of cash faster than the banks can replenish them with. Shop counters are emptying fast and fuel pumps are dry.
The money being spent is obscene. It is as if there is no tomorrow.
But, there is a tomorrow and misery might accompany it.
There is little of festivity in the air for the busy parent who must ensure the shopping is done, the presents are packaged, the travel plans are finalised and flights confirmed and reconfirmed, the bags packed and the chicks home to roost.
Even simple every day events like preparing the Christmas or New Year meal take on a difficulty all of their own because it is chore performed when the holiday spirit is in the air, when one just wants to put up her or his feet and go to sleep or watch the sun set or a good movie.
The question is: And, why not?
Why not stay at home?
Why not watch the sun set or read that novel you have been putting off because of clash of priorities all year long or watch the movie you have been meaning to watch.
Why not have a bath for an hour and a sleep for 10 hours.
There is no need to go into overdrive at all.
Indeed, there is no need to go anywhere at all.
The festivity, the novelty of this period is not in turning up some place new, although there can be many thrills to that.
Travel at this time of the year is stressful and that is putting it mildly.
Travel costs money and within a few weeks when school year begins and the need to pay for uniforms and other schools paraphernalia and travel – even with the tuition fees paid by government – it will put a
dent in your budget and the lines will grow long at the bank loans or
Nasfund school fees counters.
The festive season should not always be an occasion to do something rather fancy or expensive or partying deep into the night until money and sense departs one.
This ought to be a period for reflection, for contemplation, for relaxation, for togetherness, for affection and love and care.
It ought to be a time when the stresses of the year fall away, when one thanks God and all others who have helped guide one through another year to its conclusion.
In the time worn words for the season, it should be a “merry” time of “good cheer” for “all men of good will”.
There was a meal in a beautiful home on Christmas eve. Invitations to many functions had been turned down.
This family had three guests that night represented by three coloured goblets on a table set before the best dressed couch in the house.
A Christmas tree stood all lit up in the corner with not a present at its foot. Scented candles were lit and incense sticks filled the air with sweet scents.
There were hushed whispers and nobody passed the couch without a bow or skirting around it even though there was no
physical presence on the couch.
Prayers were said and a beautiful meal of roast lamb, sautéed potatoes, fried vegetables and orange juice was shared.
Each family member then unburdened their hearts before each other and their guests of their failures and their achievements for 2011 and what they most wanted to improve on and achieve in 2012.
There were apologies aplenty for excesses and congratulations for achievements and encouragement all around to do better in the New Year.
There were tears and hugs and an atmosphere of peace, tranquility, reverence and love pervaded the entire time.
And, then, following bible quizzes and games and chocolates, the family bid good night to their guests and slept until the sun rose the next day.
The family had invited God to dinner to say thank you for the greatest gift of all, Jesus, which is the heart of the Christmas spirit in all Christendom.
Yes, the festivity and novelty of the season can be enjoyed in your own home with nothing more than gratitude for the
gift of life and salvation
and with but a little imagination.