Blessings and gratitude
The season of goodwill is here and on Thursday Christians across the world will celebrate Christmas. For many there will be gifts under the tree, tables laden with festive treats, the company of family and friends, and a chance to unwind.
But spare a thought for those who will not spend the day like this: either because they cannot afford to, or because their Christmas must be away from home – protecting our citizens, policing roads, caring for the sick, feeding the poor, keeping essential services operating and watching over beach bathers.
At Christmas every year, countless South Africans spend the day with colleagues – staffing police stations, hospital wards and emergency rooms, medical, sea and fire rescue services, soup kitchens, and more.
There are also those who may not be Christian who ease the burden of the commitment at this time of the year by stepping in to offer a helping hand, either in volunteering to free up others who would rather be at home, or in providing food parcels to the poor.
In a world that has come to define itself by separate groupings and divisions, the individuals in such organisations show an ability to rise above themselves in identifying and addressing the needs of others.
And that is the true spirit of Christmas, a religious holiday that has become commercialised and characterised by self-indulgence.
In a world that so often reflects the sadder, darker side of human nature, let Thursday and the festive season that follows be one of sharing and serving, and may it widely foster peace and unity.
To those of other faiths who have volunteered their time, thank you for your example. To those who are forfeiting family time to fill vital slots – thank you.
And to those who will celebrate Christmas in safety with their loved ones because of such sacrifices – may it be a blessed day.