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December 22, 2006

Christmas: The most wonderful time of the year

Christmas is a celebration in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. By its very origin and nature it is a religious celebration. However, Christmas goes way beyond the boundaries of religion.

Christmas has become a human expression, so ingrained in our people, that it is a part of our West Indian culture, irrespective of our religion, race or economic background. The reasons for such are numerous..{{more}}

Christmas has the ability to impact on the entire population even in circumstances where one does not volunteer participation. The effect is not similar with all other Public Holidays in this regard. For example, what is different about Christmas as a Public Holiday in comparison to Carnival, is that Carnival essentially is regarded as secular, and is not entertained by a considerable number of persons. On the other hand, the Christmas season is entertained at least, and celebrated at best by persons of both secular and non-secular persuasions

Secondly and more apparent, Christmas is “all inclusive” owing to the increasing commercialization of Christmas. Merchants see the season as an excellent opportunity to employ well structured marketing strategies in order to maximize sale since the season is marked by extreme increases in consumption.

At Christmas, the prices appear to be reduced since the shopping windows are well decorated enough with the very catchy red and white signs labeled ‘SALE’. These signs entice a large percentage of persons to join the shopping lines. When this shopping excitement hits and the ‘money letters’, barrels from North America and parcels from nearby all begin to flow, this adds to the enjoyment experienced in the season.

However, spending does not mean celebrating a better Christmas. Neither is money the beginning or end of the season. Therefore, if you absolutely cannot afford gifts, be creative in gift giving. We could suggest that instead of store-bought goodies, everyone in our gift-giving circle can give needed favors, plan special events or make homemade gifts. While these ideas call for more creativity, they help seasonal shoppers avoid the burden of material goods and could potentially inspire them to spend more meaningful time with loved ones. And if you have money to spend but not in large amounts, budgeting is the best way to get the most of every dollar and purchase.

Without a Christian religious perspective, any analysis of Christmas will be incomplete. The entire matrix of Christmas is grounded in Christ which is both prophetic and real. The Christian faith is charged with the duty of ensuring that our spirits embrace the true meaning of Christmas. In this regard the Church has done well.

When one considers that we are celebrating the birthday of a King, the increased consumption both in terms of ingestion and spending, the chorales, the fact that both Christmas and Boxing Day are holidays with New Year’s day in sight, one just cannot escape it. Christmas tends for some to revolve around food and feasts as it did centuries ago before the birth of Jesus. Nonetheless, while feasting, we must continue to eat healthy and avert some of the strains on our bodies, namely diabetes, hypertension and reduce the risks factors for heart attack and stroke. I have been advised by my doctor that an abuse of eggnog, black cake and ham can make your Christmas a less than merry one. So we must watch what we eat and drink this Christmas as it may afford us to see many more.

By now the prettier curtains should have gone up, for health reasons the painting should have been completed, eggs would have already gone scarce and in the rush many bags will remain in supermarkets unaccounted for.

We all must spend at least one quiet moment to reflect on the true reason for the season, which is the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The spirit of Christmas is giving, sharing and receiving. It is a time to be selfless, sacrificing, and compassionate towards our fellow men.

Many thanks to those who contributed countless hours towards the community lighting events that added to the ambience of our celebrations. We must be reminded to attend church on Christmas Day as ultimately the season should be about the supremacy of God. Jesus is a gift to all mankind, so may peace and love reign in our homes, communities and this our blessed nation.

To all my weekly readers, have a Blessed Christmas.