Christmas…a season for giving, a time for reflection.
Christmas means many things to many people. Some say it is a season for giving, others say it is a season to be merry.
Friends close to the church will say it is a time to remember. Remember the past, and pray for the future. At the other end of the scale, pub going friends insisted that it is time to drink and be merry, welcome the evening with more spirits and hoarse talks. For the young ones, it is a time of receiving, of waiting for Santa, the opening of gifts.
Lest we forget, we must also remember those who have to be separated from their loved ones to fulfill jobs responsibilities away from home, those who do volunteer work to help the less fortunate, and kind hearted souls who sacrificed their time, personal resources and energy to help the disabled and the poor.
Perhaps the greatest anticipation during Christmas are meant for those selling products meant especially for the particular market, and promoting it through reminders that it is a season of giving, and of course, for them to laugh their way to the bank. Shopping complex and supermarkets are not without shame, playing familiar Christmas songs over and over again. Attracting people to buy things not only they do not need, but doing it out of obligation. The term “crass commercialism” comes to mind.
On a more mature side, a quiet evening with good friends is a real experience in emotional reflection. Aside from spending time looking for presents, they spent the day at the church, and then maybe a drink or two with close friends. Many who follow this same routine have time to reflect on the past, and the conversations always turn to the question of “what I want for Christmas”.
Many would wish for peace and kindness in the world. Others would prefer for an absence of conflicts, so that people can live in peace and harmony. Another wish would be that there should be less religious extremism, so people of various beliefs can live in consensus with one another.
In the post era of 9/11, a lot would also pray for an absence of the evils of terrorism that can cause unnecessary deaths and sufferings.
In the light of recent natural disaster, one could also wish that we should ensure the natural balance of nature is always maintained, so that there would be no mistreatment of mother earth, and people would live in symmetry with nature.
Contemplating on all the well-meaning reflections, this scribe is somewhat encouraged to reflect and ponder on the various wishes for Christmas.
On a more global scale, one would wish that there would be fewer conflicts between states that can lead to wars. Those who have been using their inherent skills in making and selling weapons should channel their resources and efforts at feeding the hungry, do research in the fields of medicine so that a cure of fatal diseases could be discovered and distributed to those who need them at a reasonable price.
One would also wish that people would be kind to themselves and to others, to avoid controversial ideas that could lead to misunderstanding, and thus lead to unnecessary bloodshed.
On the regional scale, there should be a wish for peace and maturity in dealing with local problems. That people would be more tolerant of others, especially their religious beliefs. They should not impose their own blinkered ideas to others to the extent of regarding those who do not agree with them are against them.
Nearer to home, one should not perceive others based on racial, religious or other extremist angles, but share one common appreciation of one another as citizens of this country. Despite being a racially polarised nation, the unity amongst the races amidst their different religions and beliefs has weathered a lot of shared history in it.
But most of all a lot of parents would wish that adults should spend more time with their children so that they can be nurtured to be good adults, and thus be qualified to bring better off-springs in the next generation.
The Christmas season is also a time of reflecting on memories of earlier days with close friends, old and new.
Of attending office Christmas parties where a few would get together to sing songs barely remembered from the time they were children, and meeting old friends in favourite drinking places who have dropped by just to wish each other a merry time.
Of walking on the beach where the sun sears the skin whilst thinking of songs reminding one of a white Christmas, knowing that friends in the other hemisphere are freezing, admiring the snow outside their windows.
Recollecting an evening listening to the lilting melancholic Christmas songs sung by singers in an Irish country pub, followed with ballads reminiscing on memories of Danny boy and the old country, bringing happy tears amidst the laughter.
And walking along cobbled roads in the older parts of Rome, listening to the sounds of Christmas songs in churches centuries old.
But the greatest wish that would be in this scribe’s list is the hope that one would continue to be kind to others in life, able to communicate well so that misunderstandings can be avoided, and to ensure that the next generation would be better than this.
To all readers of this news portal, Merry Christmas.
The writer has travelled and lived in a number of places; got to know a variety of people, and gone through some interesting events beyond what he expected. He hopes to share some of these experiences with readers of this news portal.