I just love Christmas. I have always loved it ever since I was a little girl and my dad would buy me a white dress with a hundred layers. I would go to church and twirl and twirl and then refuse to go home afterwards because going home meant removing the dress and I felt that it hadn’t been seen by enough people.
Even now that I am old and no one buys me anything anymore because it is Jesus’ birthday not mine, I love Christmas still. I love the atmosphere. I love the way people suddenly change their behavior for the better even if it is only temporary.
Around 22nd December, people load airtime and start sending out cliché recycled seasonal greetings. Those messages are very much welcomed and replied not only because it is polite but because during Christmas, people are generous with words.
People are also generous with money during Christmas. They hardly bargain when they are buying things. They don’t need much convincing to give to charity. They suddenly feel the need to be good customers. Good neighbours. Good strangers. Good Christians.
On Christmas Day they go to church. They are fashionably late of course. Ushers go to a certain pew and with an air of importance they ask the villagers to it. An important person is here. Everyone in church is awestruck.
Even as the villagers continue to belt out hymns and recite creeds, they keep stealing glances at the ‘important person.’ The choir is suddenly lively. The songs about Jesus but the choir is now definitely not interested in pleasing him.
It’s now time for auctioning and the role is given to the important person of course. He knows and everyone knows that he is supposed to buy the chickens and pumpkins way above market price. So he does. Thunderous applause. The clergy petitions God to bless his pocket.
After service he takes selfies because what’s the whole point of worshipping God one day in a year if people don’t get to know about it?
He also meets and talks with his high school classmate who never made it out of the village. He reaches into his pockets and gives the high school classmate ‘Christmas.’ Their classmate receives ‘Christmas’ with wide-eyed gratitude. The classmate promises to keep in touch.
With the good mood carried from singing uplifting hymns and from the generous smiles, handshakes, hugs and kisses at church, he goes to hang out. He buys drinks for his family and friends and even strangers.
On 26th December, the money has significantly reduced and it suddenly dawns on him that January’s pocket drought is drawing nigh.
So when his former classmate comes asking for money with an air of entitlement, he is not every generous with words or with money. That same day he travels back to the city in a bid to save the few notes left in his pocket.
He wonders why he let himself spend carelessly during Christmas. But he has asked himself that same question several for several Christmases now. He finds that he has learnt nothing because Christmas is always a time for generosity, however temporary it may be.