Sylva Nze Ifedigbo
One doesn’t need to be reminded about what time of the year it is. You can feel it in the very air you breathe. What ever the clime you are domiciled at-winter or harmattan-, the verdict is the same. If I should put it like a friend did on facebook recently; “the three wise men from the east have set out” or more understandably –if it’s really necessary-“Christmas bells are ringing”.
It is not equally news or strange to us that at this time of the year, gifts of very forms prominent among which are large baskets of goodies called Christmas hampers are flying around. It is generally accepted that this is a time to share and show love and it is not unusual to have staff giving gifts to their bosses, families exchanging the hampers and of course a great chunk of unspent government funds being criminally appropriated to that effect.
Giving gifts at Christmas with all purpose and intent is civilized practice. The question however is the amount of sincerity that goes with our giving. In a nutshell, what really is the motive of our generosity at this time and what really is it expected to achieve?
This is not intended to be a sermon. It is entirely a serious moral question which we as civilized people and our Government too should pause and ponder over. As we share and make merry at this season, how much thought do we spare for those fellows who like us possess the full God given right to a good life but who accidents of birth and other circumstances which they had no control over have placed in what we call a less privileged position?
From Sokoto to Yanegoa as it is from the North Pole to the South pole of the planet earth are people who the season hardly means anything to because it would not in any way change the condition they find themselves in.
These are people who are too poor to even afford a single meal a day and who can thus not afford to even remember it is Christmas. People who are terminally ill and live daily on the hope that there could be a medical miracle. Families displaced by all sorts of natural disaster, famine and disease. Child soldiers and malnourished babies in war torn states like Sudan. Old people abandoned to die in poorly kept homes. Pensioners who are owed months of their entitlement. Your junior worker in the office who’s take home pay can not in all sincerity take home. Those kids that approach the window of your car in the hold up, a plastic plate in hand. Etcetera.
These are the people who in my thinking require to be reminded that it is Christmas and in whose hands those basket full of goodies would make much more sense.
It is easy for us to pass off the responsibility by stating we are not the Government or I don’t have enough for my self. In fact we are all giving to not even thinking about it. But if the birth of Christ which we are gearing to celebrate really means anything to us, then we should begin to think differently…what so ever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.
At this season, our Government makes a good show of giving. Abuja the seat of power in Nigeria is currently flooded by these trademark hampers. In the ministries and parastatals, there is almost a stampede with contractors falling over each other in an effort to both appreciate and clear the way for the future. The national assembly and the various homes of our law makers are in similar shape. Same goes for our thirty six other state capitals.
What great difference it would make if a similar vest is exhibited in addressing those issues that have a direct impact on the lives of the people. Wouldn’t it have been a more joyous Christmas if there was one single thing our Government could point to as being their achievement this year?
Genuine good will encompasses-but is not limited to-our conscious effort to lift the burden off another’s shoulder, giving out our surplus to the fellow next door who hasn’t got any, executing government contract according to the specifications, not having more than our fair share of the common wealth, speaking out against injustice and corruption in all places, using our position for the good of the majority and showing love to others irrespective of colour, tribe or creed.
Often, we spend much time, and expend so much energy doing some rather irrelevant things thinking they matter when all we need is a rather ‘insignificant’ act that costs much less but which lightens another’s face with a smile. That is exactly what the King to be born will rather have us do.
If genuine goodwill flows around as freely as Christmas hampers, Nigeria and indeed our World will be a better place for us all. Think about this as you celebrate.
Sylva Nze Ifedigbo
CAN GENUINE GOOD WILL FLOW AROUND AS FREELY AS CHRISTMAS HAMPERS?
December 23, 2008 by nzesylva
Sylva Nze Ifedigbo