Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why all this Rush?

What a busy week this is with all the preparations for Christmas and the countdown to the great day itself getting lower all the time. I remember when this Guernsey family lived overseas and Christmas had a very different feel to it. We spent a couple of years living in the Seychelles – a fabulous group of islands in the Indian Ocean, a bit like Herm in the Channel Islands really but with hot weather all the year round. Christmas was a strange time living there because we felt so left out of all the dashing around that usually precedes the season at home. There were no Christmas decorations in the shops until Christmas Eve itself, and then just a few straggly paper chains to mark the coming of the special day. Christmas food was the usual spicy fish and rice followed by bread fruit or mangoes.

Yet in a sense that pared down version of Christmas was quite refreshing. Gone was the perpetual seasonal background music and the pushing and shoving of the crowds. In their place just simple, quiet reminders that people matter more than presents, and that some of the best things in life are free. In fact, when we tuned into the BBC World Service to listen to the nostalgic sound of carols from Kings College Cambridge thousands of miles away, we were probably closer to the real essence of Christmas then than we are today, despite the heat. ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie’.

Have a quiet Christmas!