I can’t speak for all of Africa, but certainly here in the Southern part of the continent, everyone celebrates the Festive Holiday Season. Not everyone celebrates Christmas in the traditional way, but apart from being a High Holiday, it is also the middle of Summer. Everything happens at once; School Terms end, Universities close, businesses shut for a long break, bonuses are paid and commerce comes to a stop, excepting Retail which reaches its peak in the last days before Christmas.
Caution is thrown to the wind, we all spend too much, eat too much and possibly imbibe a tad above the norm.
Distant cousins “Look up” their coastal kin, offering a six pack of beer in exchange for board and lodging.
Everyone travels everywhere, in short, its a time of madness.
Some pause to rest, and think about the point of our year-long toiling and sweating to unleash the rewards in a few weeks of abandon.
One such person, Kurt Reuber, a drafted German Soldier trained as a Doctor, was part of the siege of Stalingrad in 1942. In its darkest moments among the dyeing and the dead, all reasons for a war faded away, and a desperate Dr Reuber turned to art and the spirit to try and motivate his fellow comrades.
Using a discarded Russian map, after much thought, he decided to sketch a Madonna and Child. The style and colouring reflects the mood of the time. Sadly, while the work of art survived and is on show in Berlin, Lt. Reuber did not survive the subsequent defeat and capture of 90,000 troops.
Hi message however does survive, and is as valid today, as it was when first recorded in the time of Christ, and inscribed on the work of art:
Licht, Leben, Liebe (“Light, Life, Love”), from the Gospel of John.
Also noted were: 1942 – Christmas in the Cauldron.
We too face a great battle this Christmas, and may we all celebrate in our own way, but with the same wish for
Light, Life and Love which binds as all as Brothers and Sisters.
At least, it probably wont be cold and snowing!
We wish everyone the very best for this Festive Summer Holiday Season.