by Vernon Khelawan, email@example.com
We are now within days of celebrating Christmas 2021. Like the holiday season of 2020, we remain in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic and all that it brings, serving to lessen or even halt family gatherings, staff parties or just friendly get-togethers – truly a wet blanket if ever there was one. But this apart, we will still have lighted Christmas trees, hustling holiday shopping and, of course, greater than usual house cleaning.
Being Trinis, we will ensure that in spite of everything, Christmas this year will enkindle some sort of celebration. There will still be pastelles, fruit cake, ponche de crème, turkey, ginger beer, sorrel, Parang and some grog, but in many cases these goodies would not be as plentiful as before. The reasons are obvious. There is still a question mark over the size of families getting together as health protocols remain in place.
That is the materialistic part of the holiday season; despite all the hullaballoo which surrounds Christmas, our Church does not waver. All the holiday ceremonies which commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world will be observed. The midnight Mass might be missing, but the faithful will attend the Masses.
Fr John Sandell put it this way in an article in Living Faith: “The era in which we live out our Christian faith is the era of God present with His people, present in human form, human acts and human abilities. The Incarnation, once begun, has never ceased and never will. God’s choice to take on human nature, human flesh and blood and mind and feeling is as real and immediate now as it was in Bethlehem.
The humanity Christ claims today is ours. The flesh and blood, the hearts and mind he claims as His is our own.” “So in a very real sense,” he continues, “God’s people must not only celebrate the Incarnation, God’s people must be the Incarnation. We must, each of us, be Christ incarnate, Christ in the flesh, for every other human being. Those whom we will meet today, tomorrow, at home, at work, on the street, depend on us to make Christ real, to give Christ human form and human life.”
If we take the words of the good Father to heart and practise them, it could turn out to be the beginning of a complete turnaround of the society in which we now live, one in which the love of family and neighbour seems to have taken a holiday— a society in which the elderly are not respected and everyone seems to have greed foremost on their minds.
To thinking people, our society causes us to reflect on John 1:11–12, which says: “He came to what was His own, but his own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him he gave the power to become children of God.” I will ask you this season to share, not only with those with whom we know, but those we don’t know, like the homeless, the beggars, the disabled and the aged. In spite of the present health protocols, I implore you to share this Christmas. Or better still, Terri Mifek puts it this way, “No matter which side of the political and religious divide you are on, it has been a difficult time to remain in touch with the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
Opinions are strong. And I admit that at times it has been a struggle to keep my heart open. The occasions when I have done more talking than listening have no doubt appealed to my ego, but have not brought me joy.”
Such thoughts are reminiscent of a wide swath of our people. Anyway, this is the season of love and giving. What I ask of all of us this season is a determined effort to give and show real love. Practise charity and delight in a lot of forgiveness. Merry Christmas to my few readers and may your New Year be filled with wonderful things