At this season of Advent are you all excited and feeling “jolly” like the awful music in the malls urges? Or do you, like me experience a lack excitement and anticipation as Christmas approaches?
Growing up in the fifties, after the Second World War when money was scarce and presents were few , Christmas was pure magic. All the traditions which had arrived in Africa with British colonialism, coupled with a very strong Methodist Church legacy including the Nativity play and Sunday School Christmas Tree, fueled one’s enthusiasm. Prince’s Avenue, the main street of Benoni and the city hall would be decked out with coloured lights and it was an “outing” to be taken out at night to “see the lights”.
As I have got older, I have become quite cynical about the Festive season and I wondered why. Maybe it is because we see the Christmas decorations going up in the malls in October already? Maybe it is because we see the almost obscene consumption that is evident at this time versus the grinding, abject poverty of many others? Could it be that the removal of Christ from Christmas is taking root here in South Africa too, where we refer to Xmas, and now also say “have a Happy Holiday” as opposed to “Happy Christmas”?
Maybe Christmas reminds me of all my loved ones who are no longer with us; the very people who taught me what Christmas is truly about and with whom I used to celebrate?
If like me you’re feeling a bit jaded about Christmas, or missing someone at this time, do what I do, turn to the Reason for the Season, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and read His promises, such as in John 15:9-11 and many others.
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