By Kate Henshaw

It is that time of the year again where festivities are in full swing. The air is filled with expectations of celebration from all over the country; young children eagerly awaiting new outfits, presents and the aged who look forward to receiving their family who will spend quality time with them and pamper them with gifts and love.

I have done my bit already. Visited my parents and made sure that their Christmas is filled with goodies and also to thank them for their love, prayers and support throughout the year. A lot of people are already making the journey to their different destinations in time for Christmas day. Driving out to anywhere these past few days is now a herculean task as heavy traffic is the order of the day.

It has been a year of mixed feelings for me in Nigeria. I have been particularly saddened by the many lives that have been lost. A search light has been beamed and especially brought to the fore is the growing spectre of mob action/ jungle justice/self help judge and jury system.

Perpetrators of this dastardly acts get away with murder literally which has led to the lack of trust in our security agencies and judiciary. The murderers of a beautiful young lady, Cynthia, were so emboldened with their act that they did not bother to conceal their identities. The gruesome killing of the four University of Port

Harcourt students by the residents of ALUU community was carried out in broad day light, recorded blatantly with a rapt audience looking on, without fear or favour. This incident still leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many Nigerians, I inclusive. Not much has been heard about prosecution of the criminals. Still we await justice.

Nollywood has not been left out of the mourning season as we have lost a few: Pete Eneh and Enebeli Elebuwa. Some are still ill with different types of ailments and in dire need of financial assistance. It pains my heart when those who have given their lives to bringing joy to viewers have to go cap in hand pleading for help. It just shows the reality of the life in Nigeria where it is every man for himself and God for us all. There have been too many senseless killings and kidnappings this year, too much sorrow in the land.

The latest lives lost being, the deaths of the former security adviser, General Azazi and the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Yakowa. Despite all these, life must go on. Only those who are closest to the loss mourn for long. We must seriously do more to safeguard the lives of our citizens.

The year draws to a close with mixed feelings, but it must end definitely. People are all over shopping for food stuff, hampers and all the trappings for a Christmas day celebration. Different shows are being organised to fuel the Yuletide cheer, and for some moments all will be forgotten and geared towards loads of merriment, travel plans and felicitations.

For those who have lost their loved ones to the cold hands of death, Christmas only reinforces their absence and what would have been if they were present. This article is dedicated to those who will not feel like celebrating despite the atmosphere. I want to encourage them that time will slowly but surely heal their wounds and soothe the deep pain. They will not be forgotten but will be remembered. This is what I told a young lady whom I met the other day at a beauty salon.

She started our conversation by paying me a compliment on my work. I asked her what plans she had for the holiday and she said she was travelling to Dubai. She had lost her mum this year and had not been able to comprehend nor deal with the deep loss. As she spoke to me, tears glistened in her eyes.

I told her to make sure she enjoyed herself, that her mum would have wanted that for her. I said:“ if you feel like crying, by all means do so…” It is better to have a release than to bottle things up inside”. I encouraged her that as long as there is life, there is hope and that she should make the most of her time here on earth.

I bring good tidings to all my readers this Christmas season and charge each and every one of us to spread love to those who need it the most. It is a time of giving but not only  gifts but  ourselves. Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let every heart, prepare Him room for it is when we open up our hearts that it is filled with good things. Merry Christmas to all… .

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