When I was a child, it was a ritual to deck the house with sounds and lights, to remind us of the celebration. Christmas announces itself weeks before it arrives but we feel it deeply on the night of the 24th through the 27th of December. Whatever decorations we create looks better on the eve of Christmas.
Christmas permits exchange of food with neighbors – this is not an everyday activity, doing it at Christmas means the spirit of the period encourages unity, and promotes giving.
As kids, we looked forward to gatherings where we could wear shoes that announced the thrill of our arrival; we would wear fancy dresses and be filled with insecurity if we saw other children with similar designs. Life was easy and these were our flimsy struggles.
Whatever it was, Christmas meant “Be happy,” and as a child, it was a period to display colors, to show gratitude, to appreciate the gift of love, of the openness of the heart and to flash the most exaggerated smile when we saw an Uncle or an Aunty, because it meant we would earn money, because it’s “Christmas”. It was only on Christmas day that we could take money from others and not face the repercussion. It was only within the period that we could accept food from others, smile for it, and fill our stomachs. The period was filled with forgiveness. When the compliments pour in for the dress we wore or the hairstyles we carried, we would go home with accomplishment – I mean we slayed the day, so why not!
The spirit of Christmas is passionate and deliberate. Memories from past Christmas celebrations are of unconventional love, but isn’t it tricky that with maturity, I am getting exposed to the many situations people battle with within the period?
There are people that did not always have the kind of joy that I thought touched everyone across the world. The period comes with as much challenges as it does joy, there are those unable to celebrate the season because the burden they carry is too much to forget for a day.
However I try to think of Christmas, I can’t bury the fact that life is a fierce battle for millions of people out there. They are unable to share this moment with family and friends, not because they are unable to travel to see them but life has separated them from hope. I met a lot of street children this year, and this period has kept them in mind. These are children that have adapted to the street, they struggle to survive and have no idea what parental love or guidance means. What would they be doing on the street on Christmas day? Would they have new clothes to wear or would they eat something special?
This year, I met girls my age with extreme zeal for education but with no one to sponsor them, even through the cheapest of it. Some of them are given the option of Christmas to make the most of their bodies. There are people waiting to feed off whatever profit these girls make with their bodies, these benefactors will enjoy Christmas with their own families. They will flaunt Christmas while leaving others with scars. For others, the period is the time to steal happiness by creating tents on the road to rob people that have chosen this period to travel.
There is too much sadness in the world for us to think of this period as our moment of escape from work, or of excess food, and of glitter. Let this period inspire goodwill; and make us consider solutions to the plight of the people unable to create their own memories from the celebration. Let’s spread joy and help the child that has spent the whole of 2017 hawking on the street. To the random woman who is clueless why the world is feeling joy but she is unable to join in. To those held up in hospitals and suffering from poor health. To people that are unable to share the feeling of this moment, share your joy with them.
While giving to those that have been disadvantaged, let’s also think of solutions that would help them sustain themselves, and if another Christmas was to arrive without our help, that they would be able to create their own memories of joy.
Let’s fill this period with rich experiences for others; because Christmas is more than personal. Wear a cape – you have one, create memories with the disadvantaged. Give them something to hope for, because we all have something to give.
Photo Credit: Silverblack | Dreamstime