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Thursday, 11 December 2014

WHO Killed the Christmas Spirit?

Its December already?Oh boy! As I sit here, I am a bit perturbed that I am not really feeling the Christmas mood. Whatever happened to the Christmass spirit? I can bet that  I am not the only one feeling who feels this déjàvu feeling every other year in December. With the high paced life that we currently live; swamped with work and daily struggles, I won’t be too quick to blame myself or any other person oblivious that Christmas is just around the corner. I have walked around town lately and realized they don’t paint shops anymore with ‘Father Christmas’  (Santa Claus)faces and Christmas wonder it still looks like midyear.

I remember back in the days as a kid growing up, I used to long for December festivities. It was only in December that we got the chance to be spoilt as our folks took the back seat in matters discipline and watched us from a distance as we misbehaved in the name of making merry. For some, it was the only time in the year that they would make that long winding journeys to the village to see ‘Cucu’ and ‘Guka’.For those travelling to Western Kenya & Nyanza the trips would take them to Country bus station in the wee hours of the night to battle it out with other travelers at least get a bus to upcountry despite hiked fares.
Kenyan Style Christmas Tree
Back in Nairobi, growing up in our middle income hood, I recall on Christmas eve together with other kids, we went out of our way to cut down branches off a tree-who’se name I don’t even know to date- as a Christmass tree. With authority from our parents, we would then bring back the tree and place it in a container, fill it up with stones and soil then place it at a distinct corner of our the living room. What followed next was an elaborate decoration of the tree with cigarette rizzlers(the shiny paper) and cotton wool- which ostensibly were to stand in for snow (SMH). We would then blow up ballons and tie them with strings on the stems of the trees.Finally,we would adorn the tree with blinking Christmas lights to complete the look. What creativity! 
Christmass eve’s were a thing to look forward to. It was on such days that we would stay up late into the night with other kids from my neighborhood around bonfires singing carols and basically just fooling around. For some, prayer vigils(keshas) in churches were a must while for others it was the only night in a year that they had an opportunity to meet up and chat girls while doing God knows what hidden by the shadows in dark corners.

In our household, my father was the first person to wake up on Christmass morning. He was always in an upbeat mood as he popped in and cranked up a Jim Reeves Christmas Special Cassette that he would then proceed to sing and whistle to at the top of his lungs. Missing Christmass Church service was sacrilegious in our house. My mother used to make sure that our Christmass clothes were removed from the suit case the previous night and hang to air in readiness for church the following morning.Oh,I remember that smell of moth balls on those clothes!!Puuh!We wore those clothes proudly because it was a privilege to have new clothes and look smart on Christmas day.
“ ♫♫ Once in royal David City ♪♪”… I remember singing to that song from The Golden Bells book. Church on Christmas day was full to capacity as habitual absentees came in full gusto to pay homage to the newly born Christ like it was a pilgrimage. The sermons were ever so lively as we sang carol after carol.

Christmas at Uhuru Park
Once done with church, it was either Uhuru park for extended festivities where families met up for boat rides and outings where mostly chips,soda,queen cakes (ngumus) were on the menu; not to mention photo sessions as many showed up in their best Christmass attire.For some, it was the elaborate parties at their homes that were the stuff Christmas was made of. Food (some, rare within the course of the year) were on the menu as friends and relatives met and merried away.
The festive season kicked of earnestly with such happenings all the way into new year’s eve before life went back to ‘normal’ after new years as our folks sobered up to the realities of school fees and work. How I long for the good old days.*Sighs*

It is a pity that nowadays we are so accustomed to frivolous spending as we overlook the essence of Christmas. Events and concerts are the stuff of neo-Christmas. Woe unto you if you do not have cash to splash around this festive season. I miss the old school Christmas.Unfortunately,our kids will grow up with the idea that Christmas is all about holidays, concerts and drinking parties. But hey,I guess I will just have to get with the program.Right?Only time will tell.
No matter what you do this festive season, enjoy yourselves and remember Jesus is the reason for the season.

The Scribe rests his pen.


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