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The Holiday that has Prevailed

If you have ever delved into the history about the Christmas season, you will know it is both complex and varied. From its origins steeped in pagan and Christian beliefs alike many centuries ago, it has evolved into a holiday that is celebrated by over 159 countries officially and 23 unofficially making it the most celebrated and universally recognized holiday worldwide. The Christmas season has been involved in a cessation of hostilities in the trenches of WWI, was ‘cancelled’ during the recent Covid pandemic and perhaps most famously was outlawed in 1647 which led to the Norwich riots and ultimately the execution of King Charles I.

In New Zealand it is one of only three and a half days where most shops are closed and is widely regarded as a time where families come together and share in a meal of traditional Christmas fare, bbq or hangi. Being summer, the weather is usually pleasant and many head away for annual holidays to the beach or bach and rest and relaxation are high on the agenda.

However, Celebrations of any kind are always only joyous for some. This year like in past years, record demand for food banks is likely. Families will be separated by death, disease and accidents. The current cycle of high inflation, high costs, the hangover of the pandemic will mean many more New Zealanders will be struggling to enjoy the basics while some in the community have more than they need. But this year, like every other year, there will be hope for a better one next year. People will welcome strangers into their homes, pay it forward with groceries at the supermarket checkout, volunteer at foodbanks, work extra shifts in rest homes and hospitals to be with those who can’t be with their families or who have no one.

Because, like the Christmas festivities, the human spirit prevails. In 1949 William Faulkner said this as he received the Nobel prize for literature. “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

This year has raced by, and for my family, like many of you, it hasn’t been easy. Most of us have been or know someone who has recently been scarred by events often out of our control that the journey of life has thrown at us. There are no guarantees in this life, but every day is worth celebrating. So, I invite you all this Christmas to employ the gifts that Faulkner saw in the human spirit and approach the season with compassion and sacrifice and give of yourself to others, so that we all will endure and ultimately prevail.

On behalf of the elocal team, I would like to wish all of our readers in the local community and beyond a verry Happy Christmas and safe New Year.

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elocal Digital Edition – December 2022 (#260)

elocal Digital Edition
December 2022 (#260)

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