Christmas to me is the one time of the year when the atmosphere changes completely. I’m not talking about the commercial frenzy that assaults us from every angle, or the busy build-up to Christmas Day itself with all the stress involved. It is much more intangible than that. It is a feeling that stirs emotions and opens the heart. It is the feeling of concern for others, and even the resurfacing of grief that lies within us. A sadness that those we have lost are no longer with us to maintain the family traditions, to bring out the old familiar Christmas decorations and the expressions dear to us.
Step out into the quiet, still night and look at the stars, and there is a sense that the Universe is holding its breath just like it did over two millennia ago.
The Sankofa bird is a symbol that is used to explain the Sankofa, a word in the Akan Twi and Fante language of Ghana that translates to ‘retrieve’: go back and get. The bird has its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. It is often associated with the saying: ‘It is not wrong to go back to what you have forgotten.’ It teaches us we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us so that we can move forward.
That is what is beautiful about this time of the year. We can reflect as we prepare our homes for Christmas, and remember all those who have gone before us who did the same. People change, times change, politics change, but the message of Christmas remains the same.
May we be filled with hope for new and better beginnings, and pray for peace to wrap itself around our brothers and sisters who are struggling both here and on distant shores, pray for mothers and fathers to be able to keep their children warm and fed, and for lovers to be able to hold each other in safety. For the little children who suffered unspeakable torment at the hands of those who they should have been able to trust, may they find eternal rest.
Footsteps on the snowy field Left no lasting mark Yet you walked there once Hugging the Christmas tree. A candle glowed in the window And with sweet relief You fell inside In a tangle of scented branches. It was different then, yet the same, The children were just as excited, The tree was lit And Santa was expected. The kitchen was warm like spice And family came To hug and greet you And sit around the table. Nothing changes Though the world moves on Thinking it knows best. Still, we sing of angels, And on this Silent Night A tall tree bows, and remembers. Lmh.