Those of us who have celebrated Christmases in this country over the years with the traditional fare that includes Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, Christmas Cake, the Yule Log, Breudher, Christmas Pudding, Milk Wine, Christmas Carols and the like from childhood, do sense a distinct loss of that special Christmas vibe that pervaded the atmosphere in them days not too long past. Sure, the trimmings will still be there – and even with all the ingredients mentioned being included, it somehow seems that something special is missing.

An it don take no rocket scientist to figger dat one out maaan.

I’m not going to encourage Java’s take on this as I have a distinct impression of where he will be coming from and don’t want to go down that path. Suffice it to say, all Java wants is to be around his near and dear and celebrate in a spirit of conviviality that transcends the crap that tends to put a damper on the spirits. And who’s to blame him for that?

But what I’m getting at is that very special feeling that originated in childhood with visions of the glitter, baubles and gifts that adorned the tree, the Christmas visits and exchange of gifts and the ultimate apprehension of Santa’s presents to be discovered on Christmas morning. I’m not entirely sure that today’s children in this country have that sense of wonder and joy and of course the causes for this are apparent.

In the years gone by it seemed that ours was a much more tolerant society in all respects – particularly where religious beliefs and rituals were concerned. There wasn’t the ‘in your face’ competitive element that is exemplified by the ‘loud-speaker’ syndrome that was probably begun by the Mosques and that infected the Temples in due course and that have now reached absurd proportions with scant respect for anyone. Nor were there the attacks by goons on Churches that became a nasty habit a few years ago. There was a spirit of ‘live and let live’ and even a tendency to enjoy each-others celebrations. Now however, with all the baggage that has accumulated since the policies that led to a sense of insecurity and injustice being felt by the minorities, things have taken a gradual downward spiral that is gathering momentum and that will end in disaster for the society that we knew and loved, unless some miracle occurs and sanity prevails.

The war, of course, compounded it all, and the past two years in particular have brought untold miseries to the great majority of folk in the country. There will be no Christmas Trees for the Christians that used to have them in years gone by in Jaffna and it is unlikely that the generation that have known nothing but war all their lives will even think about Santa Claus and presents. The ‘blame-game’ is not an option – there’s no point in that exercise – the solution must be found and this is what those who gain by the war and by the instability it brings with it do not want. So what do the rest of us, who love peace and stability, do?

Sheeet maaan, like I bin tryin to tell yo ass……

The doorbell rings, so the rest of Java’s thoughts don’t get through. I get to the gate to find the garbage guys with a list asking for their annual donation – Christmas donation that is – they do the same for all the other celebratory events as well, and who’s to blame them? The guy with the list thanks me and even says ‘Merry Christmas’ (in Sinhala) and I return the compliment.

Back inside it seems like Java has lost his train of thought – he has Diana Krall doing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and has got that Christmas bud in his pipe. He looks up as I settle down to listen and share:

Tis the season to be jolly, maaan, so lighten up.

Yeah, tra la la la la – Merry Christmas all!