When you look outside the window in North America, Christmas looks like snowmen in old scarves and flamboyant hats. It looks like reindeers with red noses on white snow, waiting on Santa Claus to pop through the chimney – odd how he always misses his turn to Africa. It looks like decorations and presents under extravagant trees. In Africa, Christmas does not really have a specific look, most homes are rarely ever decorated, it is more of a feeling than anything else; and while both are different; it is the universal celebration of the birth of Christ that ties it all together.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, back when computers where only portrayed in movies as symbolic of what the future would look like, Christmas meant wearing new clothes. It’s what authenticated it for most kids back then and if you did not have new clothes you spent the entire day sulking as the neighbour’s kids flaunted their new robes. A time when for some reason on that specific day, the taste of chicken surprisingly changed from what we were used to in the previous months. Maybe in a materialistic way that’s what Christmas looked like for most.
Christmas time or the festive season is undoubtedly the best time of the year. People spend all eleven months waiting and saving up for this very special one. What defines or brings Christmas to life in most African homes is the aroma of home cooked meals, it’s the gathering of families from far and wide, it’s sharing and giving to those without; it is the euphoria of pleasant music and jovial moods. I think it is a spirit shared by the rest of the world, a universal truth, maybe Christmas does not have a look but is more of a feeling – of family, of love, of Christ!
The Grinch, in his animated moment of self discovery, as the Whos danced in the streets of Whoville after he thought he had successfully ruined Christmas for them, was hit by a warm realisation that the true spirit of Christmas lays not in fancy presents and elaborate decorations. Its true magic is in sharing with others what we have, it’s spending time and enjoying meals with those we hold dear, it’s that time of the year when we forget all our challenges and lavish in the joys of being in a good mood because you can not help yourself. But mostly for Christians it is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A time to re-enact His birth to remind us of the gift God gave us – His love.
Whatever Christmas means to you and all the people of the world, remember to be good, be kind, be merry, give, receive and share. That is what Christmas is all about, “Tis the season to be jolly!” Have a wonderful Festive season!!
By Yvonne Mateko