Christmas reflections

I mark it as joy to be celebrating Christmas 2021, as the year has been one filled with love, hope and peace.

Christmas, as always, is the wonderful opportunity for friends and family to gather and share their blessings and of course, sometimes some tribulations that had to be surmounted in the course of time.

For me, over the years, the Christmas period has become the time for some deep reflections– taking stock of what worked, what didn’t, what needs to change, and of course, a gaze into the future too.

Significantly for me, l see Christmas also as a strong reminder that to those whom much is given, much is expected. And in the spirit of Christmas, I always ensure that l reach out to as many people as l can, and invite over to the house a group of children from an “adopted” orphanage to just share a meal with them- just lunch.

This year’s rendezvous with my family from the orphanage is over and done with (December 18), and as one carer of the children whispered to me: “This has become an important event in the life of these wonderful children to the extent that they always look forward to such a fun day”.

And it is an important day for me too because looking at the children at full blast of fun is a wonderful sight to behold always.

Well, the season is the reason why most of us are in the festive cheer, therefore, a quick reminder of the true message won’t hurt. Or? Anyway, my Sunday School days, as a little boy, thought me to appreciate the most powerful narrative of all, as far as Christmas is concerned, and that is, that God sent His one and only Son to earth to deliver the message of Salvation, of Love, of Hope and of Peace. This message is spoken through the decades and generations, and attested to in many ways. That is the spirit of Christmas, which should be our subject of reflection during the festive period. In fact, this has never departed from me.

Even though l have always cherished Christmas periods, last year’s was not particularly as fun-filled as I would have liked it to be simply because the world was befuddled with the fast spreading coronavirus at the time. Of course there isn’t much to shout about during a pandemic! Sadly, the hangover from 2020 is most likely going to affect the Christmas mood this year.

We are still not out of the woods yet, for sure. I deeply think of the challenges ahead this Christmas, and possibly the carryover issues that are likely to influence the outcome of 2022. As has been identified by scientists, there is a new variant of the coronavirus- Omicron- which is fast spreading, and as expected, affecting livelihoods in various forms.

On Tuesday, December 21, media reports quoted the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as saying:

“An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled,” ostensibly warning that holiday festivities could lead to “increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths”. In WHO’s assessment of the fast spreading Omicron variant, it is far more infectious than the Delta variant. So now we know what it is from scientific studies, which is backed by data.

“There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant……And it is more likely people vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 could be infected or re-infected,” Tedros said.
Just as we did in 2021, it appears to me that we will start 2022 with the hangover of COVID-19 at full display. And the signs are not good either. This week, for instance, a number of countries have introduced new measures to address a surge in the Omicron infection rate.

Effectively, Omicron has altered Christmas celebration. The Queen of England announcing a low key celebration this Christmas further strengthens the argument that to strongly reverse the spread of Omicron some form of restrictions would be needed.
But as you fight the “pain” of the COVID-19 pandemic, remember to also keep an eye on your financial health too. Yes, surely we will defeat the virus, but beyond that you must live, and live well.

Understand also that Christmas, and for that matter festive periods, should not provide you with the cover to go into over-drive with your spending.

The festive period is not the period to spend, be merry and to think about the problems afterwards. No. Rather, it should be the period of reflection, to think through your life carefully to see whether indeed you deserve to give yourself a gift or not, following the path you have travelled from the beginning of the year.

Remember that when you feel squeezed to find the extra cash to buy presents for the children it is not always the case that you “have no choice” but sometimes it is because you see all other alternatives as “unacceptable”.

Above all, l believe that you shouldn’t let the past events hold your future hostage. COVID is scary, l know that too, but it will surely be defeated, so have hope and don’t be too disturbed by the media reports, and the panic that sometimes follows. After all, life is never always smooth, as you experience ups and downs over the course of time.

What is important, though, is to live in the present, and draw on the lessons of the past to guide the future. The past, as we all know, is gone and whatever it went with is forever gone. The present is where the future starts, which means that if you are not able to make a very good use of 2021 due to various reasons, 2022 should not be held hostage because of the poor outturn the previous year.

In other words, your bank account today is only a reflection of the past decisions that you made. The pay off, good or bad, is only a manifestation of how bright or otherwise, those decisions were. So change that with the right attitude in 2022, and the narrative will change too.

I wish you a meaningful Christmas and an abundant new year.

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