By Ikeddy ISIGUZO, Chairman Editorial Board
CHRISTMAS and its charm are parting ways. Years back, depending on where you were, and how you were, maybe who you were, Christmas was the best part of the year. We looked forward to its unbridled extravagance. There was too much to eat and drink and we enjoyed liberties that we could only imagine at other times.
The saying that “everyday is not Christmas” attests to the uniqueness of the day, plus the abuses that have joined it. We ate and drank as if we were piling up reserves until the next Christmas.
At Christmas everyone speaks of a better tomorrow. Hopes are high. The commercialisation of Christmas is a global act. In parts where statistics are studied, Christmas sales post strong indicators of the economy. Without scientific studies of the economic contributions of Christmas, we have explored the religious angles remarkably well.
We peddle miracles at Christmas and charge special rates for them. Few are complaining. People want to be counted worthy to have paid. Those whose miracles did arrive are faithless, but they should not be despondent. We use Christmas to ferry people post haste to the island of the New Year, which is a week away. The New Year will be better, we always pray.
Hope is important. Haste, hurry is even more so. We run through life looking forward to Christmas, sometimes we are surprised that the year or everything is not resolved at Christmas.
Things seem impossible without Christmas. How do we show off our acquisitions in the past year? How would the world know how we have fared, if we are not hosting one of those A-list parties?
Christmas is show time. People who have not eaten for weeks somehow get something to eat. Drinks are surplus. Everyone, almost everyone, manages to carry on with the air of abundance. The truth is usually revealed in the coming weeks, when the wastes of Christmas put some unplanned expenditures in perspective.
There is a side of Christmas that is gone with the ever-changing school calendar. Younger folks would parade the streets with their new clothes and Christmas-day assumed liberties. Those of that era would tell you that terms and conditions applied. They really did.
Then the school year ended with December. The implication was that those who did not earn promotion to the next class had no Christmas celebration. Christmas held more appeal then as we celebrated academic excellence and the attendant rewards that reflected appreciative parents.
Christmas is dissolving into nothingness. The celebrations are muted. The joys of a distinct part of the year are shared with a shearing fear of the unknown. Would a bomb go off? Would there be food (at Christmas!)? Would salaries be paid? What happens next year?
These mundane issues are matters of the moment. Christmas is subsumed in them. People are afraid to be seen to be happy, otherwise they can attract the wrong reaction from those who count happiness as a sign that one is in government, the most flourishing business in today’s Nigeria.
Christmas is declining; its emptiness is resounding from the depth of the abandonment of its simple message of love of God for mankind and the expected lesson of man loving his fellow man.
The greed of Christmas, the lasting poverty around it, an economy that is getting deeper into the woods and insecurity make this season mainly, merely Christmas.