About me..

My photo

I am a believer in pursuing one's passion and enabling others to realize their potential. Working with women and girls is my passion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Christmas...what does it mean today?

What does Christmas mean today? I wonder.

Last evening, we were having the end of year staff dinner, and we got discussing what Christmas means and what it meant. We managed to get several issues to point to what made Christmas something different for us when growing up, but we never quite figured what it means today.  For Christians, Christmas represents the time that redemption started by Jesus coming to earth to be born as a human and live in the human life. It is one of the most celebrated holidays in the Christians calendar while it represents a holiday for many people in Africa as organizations take a break as it is towards the end of the year.

In the past there was something ecstatic about Christmas and the kids knew that was the time when some of the goodies that don’t come every day would come. It was compulsory to get new clothes during Christmas, but today this is neither here nor there, new clothes can be bought any season of the year. There were special meals for the season not to mention the very different way of having the Church service.

I have been reflecting on what Christmas meant at different seasons of my life. While growing up as a kid, in a big family, this was the season that you had to have something new! It is interesting how we never cared or even taught where parents got the money for this for the big family and with life having been harder then economically. I still remember the joy of waiting to see what my dad had in store for us during Christmas, it was different from any other presents at any other time of the year, and we knew Christmas was here. It was unheard of not to have chapattis during Christmas and often roast meat.  Today celebrations happens every now and then. The celebrations came with elaborate church services and different events. There was a vigil walk from one home to the other with Christmas carols   on the 23rd of December. This was an exciting moment when one could spend the night singing and moving from one place to the other. This was popularly called ‘murekio’. I am not very sure what it meant but it was an important even in the Catholic. This was the first casualty to go due to aspects of insecurity  and it was made into a one venue event during the day. I still remember singing and watching the starts and feeling really Christmas is here! Some Muslim friends of mine shared that  they felt the excitement of Christmas and it also meant something to them, some moment of getting together and merry making.

The Catholic had and still does have a way of bringing back the memories of the manger. There is a replica of the imagined Bethlehem with a manger, where the baby Jesus lay, and as a child this meant so much to me. I can still remember the awe I felt every time I found my way to the manger with a lot of colored lights and thinking how it must have been in Bethlehem at that time. The night mass that ended after midnight made the mood complete. With time, some of the Churches have removed the evening mass within the same locality as the Churches geographical locations of the churches are more divided to cater for growing populations and hence a few priests serving the different Churches.  There is still something magical about Christmas vigil mass. Somehow, things are more ‘ordinary’ even during the extra-ordinary season.
One of the most significant aspects of Christmas is families getting together and many people travel at least this once to the localities. I never thought I can spend Christmas away from my family but I did while in campus. Christmas songs carols are quite inspirational hence I was caught in between the singing and being with my family. I love singing, music gets to my soul. Through the universities mass choir we spent Christmas at state house. There is something euphoric about the Christmas carols and I still remember one ‘ my, my, my, Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christ-e-mas day’! I remember the melody and the two tenors one being the late Mr Ogallo, a great musician may he rest in peace’. It made Christmas special.
So what does Christmas mean today? Many Kenyans especially Nairobians travel to the coast region, one can almost hear the coast people saying the ‘tunaomba serikali watu wa Nairobi wabaki Nairobi’. It is the time that many get a break from work hence the traffic is normally heading from the city centres to rural areas and to the coast.  I am still reflecting on what Christmas means to me today.  Do we get to reflect what this means to us, what it has meant to us? With the mobile telephony that has changed the communication, this is the season that one will get text messages even from those who have not communicated in the past year. But this ends at Christmas, until the next Christmas.

Whatever it is, something gets awakened during Christmas, some positive energies.
During this Christmas am inspired by one of my favorite songs in high school, and I believe this will be my relic this Christmas. The words inspire me that ‘Wherever there is laughter ringing, someone smiling, someone dreaming, We can live together there, Love will be our home’.
The message for Christmas has been love, where we can live together in harmony.  During this period I can strive to lock out the negative energy and concentrate on a renewed energy, peace and love.

If home is really were the heart is, And home must be a place we all can share
For even with our differences, our hearts are much the same, For where love is we come together there

Wherever there is laughter ringing, Someone smiling, someone dreaming
We can live together there, Love will be our home

Wherever there are children singing, Where a tender heart is beating, We can live together there, Cause love will be our home

With love our hearts can be a family, And hope can bring this family face to face
And though we may be far apart, Our hearts can be as one, When love brings us together in one place

Wherever there is laughter ringing, Someone smiling, someone dreaming, We can live together there,  Love will be our home

Where there are words of kindness spoken,Where a vow is never broken, We can live together there, Cause love will be our home

Love will, love will be our home, Love will, love will be our home
Love will, love will be our home

Wherever there is laughter ringing, Someone smiling, someone dreaming, We can live together there, Love will be our home

Wherever there are children singing, Where a tender heart is beating, We can live together there, Cause love will be our home

Love will, love will be our home, Love will, love will be our home
Love will, love will be our home

Wherever there is laughter ringing, Someone smiling, someone dreaming, We can live together there, Cause love will be our home

Love will be our home.