The season is back and the days are ticking fast for the bells to chime; bringing in the celebration of Christmas. Of course we are coming to the end of a glorious year of uncertainties dominated by how the White House got ‘Trumped’ and Britain said good-bye to the EU and Comrade Castro bade his last farewell while Aleppo bled with war. That’s international. In the local scene everything remained the same, 2016 was no different from all the other years after independence. The ordinary man’s hopes are dashed and bashed as usual at every toll-gate whilst those who sailed the Diyawanna Oya took the cream home for themselves and shared some of it with those that leeched on them in their inner circles. Which party? What colour? Don’t waste time on that. You cannot pigeon hole them; it is the same big stinking chicken coop.
Nothing new and more to come. That is what the promise is, if one has any semblance of sense to figure things out in the political ‘sambol’ which has become a fixed menu for the unfortunate you and me, the ordinary. Those who professed to march as saints after a regime change tumbled and somersaulted as they failed in their promises and deprived the masses of anything and everything that was in their ‘Hope List.’ No, it is not a ‘Bucket List.’ The bucket list is for those in the category of ‘have enoughs.’ Hope list is for the ‘have nothing.’ They have only ‘hope’ and they are the ones who took the broadside of the blast of poverty that keeps crippling Sri Lanka whilst others get rich from billions worth Bond issues and numerous other lucrative ‘deals’ that originated from the banks of Diyawanna Oya. The best were the luxury SUVs that whizzed past the harbour gates sans customs duty to be sold by ‘him to them,’ the profits seemingly meant to be distributed among the proletariat. That sure wins the prize as the ‘laugh of the year’ closely beating the Galle Face Guinness Christmas Tree.
Enough of that heart-breaking fairy tale of how Mother Lanka sheds her constant tears, let’s go and look for Santa Claus.
The most talked about and ultra-popular character at Christmas is Santa Claus. Sure, the celebration is the birth of Christ, but Santa happens to be the master of ceremonies as the December winds begin to blow. From the smallest of kids to the oldest in the family, it’s all about what to buy for whom, balancing the precious budget and how to grab the best sale that gives the best bargain.
Advertisements are galore cramming newspapers; every page is filled with them. The fat man with a white beard, Santa Claus dressed in Rufus Redis the undisputed main attraction. He is everywhere, smiling away as if he is gifting the whole world with a present for each inhabitant. No wonder people love him. The great giver of gifts (must have been a politician somewhere). The songs are there too about the list he’s making and kissing Mummy under the mistletoe or the sleigh he’s riding and people even sing about his red-nosed reindeer. That’s how dominating Santa is with the advent of yule tide. Yes, it is all about gifts and celebration that money can buy; seldom do we hear even a mention about a journey to Bethlehem and a poor carpenter bringing his pregnant wife astride a donkey, to give birth to a child in a manger among the sheep and cattle. That is the real Christmas, to be shared by all, from the beggar selling his sores on the pavement to the palaced clergy in purple. Unfortunately, today’s Christmas has become more of a marketing masquerade.
The pseudo Santa is all about selling merchandise, the biggest sales gimmick that hardly has an equal. The rich celebrate, the ‘not so rich’ suffer and poor children write meaningless notes to Santa on scraps of paper using worn-out pencils, as blunt as their hopes of getting what they ask for.
The heart-breaking disappointment of the Christmas morning for these ‘lesser children of God’ is to wake up and find there is no gift. They sure must be wondering why the ‘jingle belling’ sleigh did not stop at their house. On rare occasions, even if they received a gift, it would mostly be a very poor imitation of what they asked and hoped for. How do parents explain this to little broken hearts? Breaks their adult hearts too, as they are forced to become part of the unsolvable riddles of Christmas’ poverty dreams.
So what can we do? Let’s go find this elusive Christmas Santa Claus; not the celluloid cut-out or air-filled plastic version that hangs and swings by his neck in every shop entrance. Let’s find the real one? We need to tell him how unfair this entire gifting rigmarole is. Can we possibly change this? No, cannot. It is too ingrained as a champion commercial cause of the year anywhere in the world, the business of Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and wrapping gifts. But maybe we can make some little alterations. We too can make an effort and perhaps become a real-life Santa Claus.
Wouldn’t it be great if we did something for the poor and the needy whilst we celebrate Christmas? Share some part of the grandiose glitter we plan for ourselves, family and friends with the ones who are left out of the celebration. Pass the word around, send this article to others, let’s talk about doing something. Forget the left hand not knowing what the right hand does, that sacred statement is in a different context. Let the world know you are doing what you can to share your Christmas, then, some others too will wake up and follow your footsteps. Maybe we can create an army of seemingly insignificant Santas who would do what little they could to spread a sincere Christmas message and shed light upon those who are badly in need of goodwill and cheer at the forthcoming festivities.
It is not that we as individuals can solve the disappointments and the brutal disillusionment of the masses who receive no visit from Santa Claus. But we can sure lift the darkness for a few or even one, by looking at ways to share our Christmas blessings with others in need.
Let’s give it a try, never mind who is naughty or nice, just find the kindness in your heart to be a Santa Claus and make a child happy or feed a family that suffers from hunger. That is ‘Santa Claus is coming to Town’ in the true sense.
Undoubtedly, a very blessed way to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Secret Santa project by CandleAid Lanka – www.candleaid.org