Once upon a time one was inundated with calls and visits every Christmas. Not just Christmas but every festival. There was an air of good- natured bonhomie be it Christmas, Diwali or Eid.
That was how we greeted each other, once.
Today it’s all WhatsApp messages and videos, but let me not complain because some of them were exceptionally good.
One of the many videos forwarded during this Festival of Peace, was of an incident during the First World War. I watched, as Christmas Day was declared a day of truce so that armies facing each other could observe and celebrate Christmas. And then as the video played, it showed German soldiers stepping out of their trenches a white flag extended and walking across no man’s land to where the British were. They then started singing Christmas carols, and soon the British joined in with both sides singing in their own languages.
Very soon, they exchanged gifts.
Yes, the very men, who a few hours ago, were trying to kill each other were now hugging each other, and wishing one another even as they realized the enemy was none other than a man like they were.
What a remarkable scene it must have been.
And I am sure that even as the Christmas singing lasted and the gifts were exchanged, the thoughts in the soldier’s minds were why couldn’t Christmas last? Why go back to hate?
Yes, why can’t Christmas last?
Today, as I see poor farmers fighting the bitter cold to tell a government they don’t agree to a law passed for them, why can’t Christmas last? What stops the government from listening to them? Why water cannons, why confrontation? Why not peace?
As I see a government, nay many state governments trying to form a religious divide, and get the majority and minority into opposing trenches, with draconian laws like Love Jihad and others, again the video opens up before my eyes and I know that people want to live in peace, so why can’t peace last?
Why can’t Christmas last?
They were young boys, who crossed the trenches and hugged each other that Christmas day in World War Two, and they are young men and women who have had enough of this politically sponsored polarization that is happening in our country and I ask, “Why can’t Christmas last?”
“Peace on Earth, goodwill to men!” is what the message of Christmas is. A message that talks of peace and brotherhood, of love and understanding.
A hundred years ago, the soldiers went back to their trenches and fired on each other the next day, but do we have to do that?
Let us instead throw out these who have ignited hatred and instead bring in those who will let the spirit of Christmas, of peace and joy, last..!
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