Christmas Holidays: Sharing love and peace to the world
Season of Christmas, referred to as Advent in the Christian calendar, is upon us again. I’m truly blessed and grateful, despite personal challenges, to be alive, witnessing another anniversary, in relative health and peace. Invasive home sickness and the traditional rites that come with the event assault my mental radar: the euphoria, excitement, over-crowded shopping centers displaying all sorts of wares, mouth watering as sumptuous African meals like hot watering of eyes pepper soup, rice bread, Jollof rice and other meals that originated mostly from the Creoles, liberated slaves who settled in Freetown. Literally, I miss the honesty of overwhelming outpouring of love lavished by folks of all faiths in Sierra Leone, where Muslims apparently could enjoy Christmas more than Christians. Only the priceless love and passion of Christ provides high voltage electricity in driving flawless dynamos to illuminate and restore sanity around our ailing world in crisis. Here in the US the day often unfolds with a drawl as winter grows full blown and snow could cover everywhere, including rooftops in snow prone areas. Life could be morose, so quiet like the graveyard. While Church services are abandoned as a result by most churches here, but not back home where one could feel and see the celebration in action. (Photo: Roland Bankole Marke, author)
Various faiths are vocal in disputing the date and some think it’s a pagan tradition. Time to put aside our differences and share a different kind of love instituted and demonstrated by Almighty, through the gift of The Messiah, whose advent would redeem us from our impending doom. It was the heart and mission of Christ that gave birth to Christmas, not the perishable gifts we tirelessly array under the Christmas tree and endlessly pay insane attention to, that could assault and poison its true meaning and purpose, if not our soul. There’s extreme commercialization of the event in the West, where so much emphasis is placed on things instead of kind deeds and the welfare of people. Especially those in dire need, invariably giving a blind eye to the destitute like the aged taboo associated with homelessness or leprosy. Help a needy folk struggling to make ends meet instead of giving expensive gifts to those who don’t need them and end up storing them in closets, and later sold in yard or flee market sales. Yes, Christmas is for everyone, not just for the selected or elected or self righteous. For once put a smile on someone’s face you don’t even know or like. Freely receive freely give, for we do not deserve God’s unblemished gift of His only son becoming a propitiation for humankind’s disgusting and endless faltering.
Nostalgia begins to cripple my mind, speaking from the naked walls of my heart, and staying away from those hardcore religious dogmas that often divide us rather than unite us. For we are all God’s children, whatever our beliefs, race or status in life. In His eyes we are equal whether being labeled ‘LEGAL or ILLEGAL’ around the world. There’s nothing that unconditional love couldn’t conquer if we cease being self serving, judgmental and conceited. The golden rule says treat others the way you would like to be treated to bring glory to the creator who holds the key to our destiny. Folks traveling home from the Diaspora are excited and ready to embark on that heart racing trip home, their hearts might even skip a beat. Thinking about the feeling of being in the motherland, romancing the holidays with families, friends, even strangers in a more friendly and conducive environment good for relaxation. But some mischief too should not be ruled out as well.
Facebook has transformed the world into a global village, much closer than we think, where real and virtual love is possible and available at the click of a mouse using modern devices with Internet ready access. It’s explosive as it’s seductive, if a user is vain or commercially motivated. The dollar or pound sterling, no preference here, could cause social and emotional stress as much as it could help ease economic problems of desperation, reducing hardship and pain for the less fortunate and needy. Extreme poverty is tenuous and a mental condition that plagues most of our African people back home. Those in the Diaspora shouldn’t exploit the appalling conditions of those really struggling to survive. Please give a helping hand if you could, without preconditions and lust of the eyes or flesh.
Those back home, think rationally before abandoning a long term relationship for a fleetingly seductive one sold by an adventurer looking for entertainment, who invariably could break the feeble hearts of the vulnerable. Making friends is good, but too gullible to bogus schemes of a monster posing as lover could be devastating and traumatic. Be careful, especially women, don’t give away your heart of gold too quickly and easily. Do your homework first before falling in love with things instead of honest people. I recall growing up in Sierra Leone when teens would ingeniously quarrel with their lovers this time, in a ploy to get ample space to chase men with deep pockets. Eventually, few miscreants would return as penitent sinners when fantasy and the fling have worn out and reality violently kicks in.
We live in a fast pace age of Facebook, a complex market place, where drama and eye popping occurrences happen daily. Lust of the eyes charmed with well crafted words are powerful tools employed to seduce and infringe into the heartland of the naive through the back door, amid wide eyed wonder. Skype and webcams are rolling at all hours invading the bedrooms and living rooms of those seemingly love starved and looking for fast food love in all the wrong places, without any clue of the real challenges, and what true love means. It’s so different from lust on demand. Real, virtual lust, make your pick and bear the full brunt and consequences. But the ideal fountain, who loves us unconditionally as we are, without a price tag has enough room in his heart space for the whole world. Simply, believe and make that necessary U-turn. His love is natural and eternal that’s the Christmas message and thought we should take to heart. May the joy and glad tidings of the season fill every home and heart along the landscapes and perimeters of our world in chaos that desperately needs a transforming make over. Could we heed his call today? Peace and harmony be onto us all.
Roland Bankole Marke (c) 2012
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