Before we even knew what hit us, 2015 is drawing to a close and it is time again for Christmas celebrations. For many of us Christmas – and especially the week between Christmas and New Year – is a time that we can slow down and take stock of the year that has passed. It is also the time of year when we should find the time to be grateful for all that we have, as sometimes we tend to forget just how much we are blessed with. And even if you do not celebrate Christmas, you can still spend some time to remember all the things you can be grateful for.
For many Christmas time is as much about spending time with family and friends as it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. While there is a lot of excitement about Christmas and a build-up which already starts when the first of the Christmas decorations appear in the shops, we also have to remember that it is not all about the gifts and the food. It is also about fellowship.
Sometimes it seems as if everyone gets more relaxed, friendlier with strangers, and try to connect with friends and family which they have not seen in months or years as Christmas draws closer. But Christmas and New Year’s should not be the only time during which we think of others in this way; we should actually be doing this throughout the year.
When we look at the world as a whole and see all the suffering which is taking place on a daily basis, we can really see how lucky we are to still have family and friends around us and how lucky we are to still be alive. It is also during Christmas time that we all try to give something to those less fortunate than ourselves because we see that we have much to be grateful for. But we should also try and do this throughout the year. May we all in the coming year remember the feeling of gratitude and fellowship that we have at Christmas time and may we carry that with us throughout the year.
With just a little under three weeks to go and the clock ticking persistently, Christmas day is approaching at full speed. Suddenly one realizes how much still has to be done, but the excitement cancels out any trepidations.
Most people are planning a Christmas holiday somewhere. Anywhere, as long as it is away from home. Vehicles have to be serviced. New swimsuits and slops for the whole family need to be purchased. Dad is folding his blindingly bright Hawaiian shirt with the hibiscus print and dusting off his fake Panama hat and sunglasses with the mirrored lenses for the beach. Nothing like a beach holiday to make the old man forget his age.
Others are doing the repairs at home that have been on the to-do list since February. Isn’t it amazing how an expected visit from the in-laws motivates you to open the toolbox and get out the paint brushes? We don’t want to give anybody a reason to gossip after the holidays.
Little children have written letters to Santa clause to let him know what is on their wish lists. The blind faith of a little child always astonishes me. It is no problem to expect the old man with the red suit and white beard to be able to bring a real aeroplane or a baby Kuala bear.
Since Christmas in most households starts with, and ends with Christmas lunch, the food is a major issue. Any turkey that is still alive at this late stage of preparation, is surely in hiding in China disguised as a hedgehog. Freezers are bulging, booze cabinets overflowing and pantries stocked up to the ceiling with all that will be eaten and drunk on this one day. Just one day!
If not last week, certainly this week the grannies will be filling every hollow thing in the house with home baked biscuits. Ginger, custard and coffee biscuits. Short bread and crunchies. The family recipe from four generations back is used for the rusks that are thirty centimeters long and can soak up a mug of coffee in one dunk. That is for breakfast on Christmas day just to see everyone over till the feast begins shortly after twelve.
Will it help to ask that the poor and the lonely should be remembered in all this?