CHRISTMAS and New Year festivities are upon us. It is that time of the year when all of us pause not only to celebrate the birth of our Saviour but also reflect on the outgoing year and welcome the incoming one. It is an important time, a time to count the chickens or harvest what we have sown and put in new seeds for the next harvest. As is tradition, many people have taken to the roads to join their extended families and relatives in outlying areas for the festivities. Others will seek ‘romance’ with our wild coast or go to foreign lands to take a break from the rough and tumble of life at home. The capital and other urban areas are fast being deserted and the national roads are choked with motor vehicles heading in different directions. Sadly, this holiday period started off badly with a horror accident that claimed the lives of 17 people just a week ago. There have been similar accidents since, although not on the same scale and magnitude. The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF) launched a road safety campaign beginning December to sensitise motorists about the importance of safe driving. The campaign elicited a lot of generous support from various institutions that want to make a difference. Despite these good efforts, some motorists continue to be a danger on the roads. The police have been apprehending people for various offences including drunken driving and overloading. How sad after so much money was spent by the MVAF to make people realise the folly of those who indulge in breaking road safety rules. Celebrating Christmas and New Year is as old as time immemorial. It is part of our cultures and traditions. Both occasions are celebrated differently but there are also many similarities in the way we mark them. Almost all of us use this occasion to show love and to share with those that we love or even strangers. This is a wonderful time to cement bonds with those that are dearest to us, including the broader humanity. Shopping malls and other centres are fully packed with shoppers who are buying presents for their loved ones. Christmas is also a time of commerce, a time of thanksgiving to our creator, a time to celebrate the fruits of our hard labour and rejoice in our achievements. But this does not mean that we should go on a spending spree and forget about the next day. These are only two special days. They do not represent the end of the world. Life lies beyond them. We should never empty our purses as if there are no school fees to pay tomorrow or food to buy, rent and other necessities of life. Even in celebrating Christmas and New Year, we must be frugal and use our money wisely. More importantly, let us use this occasion to reflect on our individual achievements and also to focus on the year that lies ahead and set targets and goals for the future. This is also the time of the year when we get blessed with rain. Those with an inclination and a heart for farming should make the best of the rains and put food on their tables instead of indulging in endless partying. May the joy of Christmas and New Year be upon all of us. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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