Pause awhile for those who don’t feel the joy of Christmas

Posted by News Express | 18 December 2021 | 1,126 times

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Every year, a major bank lights up a street in Victoria Island around the Christmas season. It is a walkable distance from my home so I try to go there at least once every year to see the lovely sights. Every year, a Pentecostal Church lights up its street in Oregun at Christmas. It is also a walkable distance from where my office is so I get to see the lights as I drive past – I actually used to walk down the street to enjoy the ambience in my younger years when age and safety made many things possible. The road leading to Alausa – the seat of government for the state – used to be lit up during the Fashola years. It was a sight to behold as I drove to work. This year, a multinational company has lit up the street that connects Ikoyi with Victoria Island. I see the lights when I drive out of the Island and when I come in. My favourite radio station has been playing Christmas songs for a month now with increasing frequency as the D-Day approaches. As if these tell-tale signs are not enough, the weather itself has changed. The air has become dry and hazy. These signs which foretell Christmas, are more significant for me than the calendar in that they evoke feelings that go beyond the date of a month. They stir up deep seated memories that come to the surface about once a year. Memories of Christmases with my parents, with friends, with lovers and now as a parent, with my family – either one of my two daughters has been coming home for Christmas for the past five years. Most of these memories have been pleasant and they make Christmas something to look forward to.

My experience is the experience of many people who see the Christmas season in favourable lights as the season for re-union - platonic, filial and romantic, a season of gaiety and fun, a season of gifts as an expression of love and worth, and for the young, a season for clubbing and partying. Then there are people who look forward to Christmas as a season to get away from it all in order to recharge depleted batteries. On the other side of the coin are people, possibly not as few as we might like to think, who cringe at the thoughts of Christmas. Some of these people might have lost things they consider valuable in the past during this period – loved ones through death or divorce, jobs through redundancy, homes as a result of any of the three. Memories of past Christmases also influence how they see the current one. There are those who feel the loneliness that Christmas brings more keenly either because they are in relationships which make being together difficult during festive seasons, or they are not in any relationship. Then there are people who long for what used to be and can’t let go. Work and the rigours of day to day living, mask many things for many people. These things are exposed and they become more acute when work shuts down at Christmas. These are just some of the several classes of people who don’t feel the joy of Christmas. In fact, their feelings are of such deep sadness that they bother on depression. These are some of the people who need our compassion during this season. Let us spare a thought for them. A phone call, a gift, a surprise visit, can be a wonderful elixir for some of them. Then there are the incapacitated; those who can’t move around and about as they used to for reasons of age, illness or accident. They will need cheering up. Being confined and alone can be very depressing especially during the yuletide season. Let us reach out to them. The old and aged are usually alone with their thoughts at Christmas. Their peers have died and their loved ones have flown the nest. It is easy to overlook them and their feelings as we indulge. Let’s change their narrative and turn their pensiveness to joy. Christmas should be about compassion. Humanity should be about compassion.

I may have seemed to concentrate on the different classes of people who are emotionally disturbed during this season because they are people whose needs are more spiritual than material. After all, the rich also cry and many people irrespective of wealth, harbour fears of loneliness and depression during the festive seasons than we care to admit. Just reminding them that they are cared for can do a lot for their sense of well-being.

Finally, we come to those who are materially deprived. Their ranks have increased in the past year no thanks to Covid19, terrorism, banditry and poor economic policies and management. We have them everywhere – on our streets, in our places of worship and at work. We also have relatives who are struggling and friends who have fallen on hard times. If we can make it a policy to touch at least one life positively for the roughly two weeks of the festive season, then we can all together make this Christmas – and New Year - one to remember with fondness and joy.

And if you are holding a grudge against someone you think has wronged you, reach out to them. Remove the toxic effects of harbouring anger and grudges from your system and breathe easy. Embody the spirit of Christmas which include charity, generosity, empathy, compassion and love. It is exactly a week to Christmas. Let us make a difference to ourselves, to our communities, to our world. Compliments of the yuletide season to all our worthy readers.

•Muyiwa Adetiba, is a veteran journalist and publisher. He can be reached via titbits2012@yahoo.com


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