Don’t Plan, Just Relax and Enjoy Christmas
5 December 2014 10:20 am
Says Sirohmi Gunesekera (Teacher, Attorney-at-Law and Researcher into Human Relations & The Family Unit)
colour washing the house and it’s only a few weeks left before Christmas” moaned Laila. “I have to buy gifts for the family and for friends and there is hardly time before 25th December 2014.” Complained Mohan.. “I have to make the Christmas cake and pudding and I still haven’t bought the ingredients.” grumbled Jilska.
Come December, there is frenzied activity in Christian households and even non-Christians get caught up in the excitement since shops, hotels and television and newspapers also advertise the Christmas rush for goodies. Christian families want to do something special for Christmas and even get into debt to decorate their homes and make fancy food to celebrate the feast. But it takes time to chop the sultanas, cadjunuts and pumpkin preserve for the cake and pudding. Baking the cake and steaming the pudding are also time consuming tasks. Shopping for gifts and wrapping them means waiting till the family members are asleep as the gifts have to be a surprise to be opened on Christmas morning or after midnight mass.
But wait a minute. What are we celebrating? Isn’t it the birth of Jesus who is the Son of God and who was born of a human mother to suffer and die for our sins? Isn’t the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the true birth of Christianity? Then shouldn’t we celebrate Easter? Besides Baby Jesus was born to a poor carpenter and his fiancée and there was no room for them at the inn and Jesus was born in an unhygienic stable amid the cows and the sheep and donkeys. It was only ignorant shepherds who came to visit the newborn baby and they brought no fancy gifts. In Sri Lanka, the majority of inhabitants look to Christmas as a time of enjoyment and money is freely spent. The postman, the newspaper distributor and the garbage collector come with their lists and Christians are expected to give lavishly so the poor can enjoy Christmas by eating and drinking. Yet the parents of Jesus lived among the poor and the destitute and did not indulge in fancy food and drink. Even if they wanted to they could not afford to go to five star hotels and celebrate Christmas by eating Roast Chicken and Ham.
So whose side are we on? Is it the side of those who can afford to spend lavishly and make a carnival or are we to pray and enjoy a simple Christmas with joy in our hearts even if our bellies are not overfull? Maybe true Christians should set an example and remember that Jesus Christ was born in a poor and lowly stable. There are so many in our country who are starved of a kind word or deed and filling their stomachs for a while is not what they need. Perhaps Christians should stop their orgy of spending on food, drink and gifts for those who have enough and reach out to those who are emotionally starved. So many mutter a prayer learnt by heart and do not think that their fellow traveler in the bus might like a kind word. There are also those who live in big houses and are lonely for their kith and kin are busy. They have enough to eat and drink and perhaps money in the bank but their mind and heart are not stimulated to lead a fruitful life.
I hope this article will make those who read it think and change their celebration of Christmas to make it truly meaningful.
(All names are fictitious)(Images Courtesy internet)