By: Vicky Wireko
Ask what the good thing about Christmas is and I will tell you it is a reminder of the virgin birth, the time when God came down on earth to be born, live amongst men doing good and died to save mankind.
But I bet if one asked the next person one meets the answer may be different.
Depending on whom one is speaking to, if he or she is at a youthful age, they might point to a few social events – the family get-togethers, office parties, weddings, Christmas gifts and many joyful celebrations.
Definitely, in today’s terms, the social aspect outshines the spiritual ponder. We seem to have virtually re-written the entire feel-good message of the virgin birth on that Christmas Day and replaced it with fun, coupled with heavy commercialisation of the season. There is always a mixed grill of the feel-good moment about the Christmas season.
And as the season dawned, the general mood in the air about hardships in our economy changed. The feeling of Christmas and its good tidings has overtaken us in the past couple of weeks.
Truth be told, there are now a lot of active motions signalling Christmas is in the air, irrespective of the hardships and high prices of goods and services.
The good thing about the season is that no matter what, people find ways and means to make it joyous. Shopping malls are busy and packed, especially on weekends. Active shopping and window shopping seems to be on the increase.
Beautiful gift hampers are already out on display for sale, even in that small corner shop. Hardships or not, it is the season when people remember the good done to them in the course of the year and try to reciprocate with a “thank you” parcel. That is what matters and what makes them feel good about Christmas.
I drove past the Makola market in Accra on the Farmer’s Day holiday and even though it was too early into December, there was a brisk business in the market, despite the day being a holiday. It showed signs that the season was here. Christmas trees, decorations and all the other trimmings of the season gave clues that the mood has changed for the better, short-lived or not.
Even my dressmaker gave that hint about the goodness in Christmas when I stopped by her shop the other day. With all smiles, she told me how business has picked up with Christmas deadlines topping her list.
Though the cost of transportation is not coming down despite the fact that fuel prices are going down, one can imagine the usual peak season for commercial long-distance transport owners as people pack to get away for family celebrations in the countryside.
So no matter the economic depression and the shrunk disposable incomes, Christmas still has something good about it. People are ready to dump the gloom and doom and go ahead to prepare and enjoy the season.
Ghana’s IMF deal
What might even lessen the despair in the air and push people to momentarily put their Christmas and New Year plans on the front burner is the relief brought by the feel-good news coming in the way of Ghana from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Fund’s fresh announcement of a Staff-Level Agreement on a $3 billion, three years extended credit facility with Ghana sounds good.
Some of us were not sure of our country’s fate going for a bail-out from the IMF. We were not sure if a deal was going to be reached sooner. There were too many theories floating around from those who purported to know it all, spelling out why Ghana will not get anywhere without running to seek aid.
The nay-Sayers made it too difficult with all sorts of arguments for one to even think a feel-good outcome was soon to arrive, more so, at Christmas time.
The statement issued by the IMF team led by Stephane Roudet, Mission Chief for Ghana, is a huge stress reliever, even for those of us looking in from the outside.
For now, one can rest assured knowing that there are somewhat good tidings coming our way and which, though may not solve all our hardships, may, at least, cushion any sufferings for now. And even more so, one has the mind to concentrate on a good mixed grill for stress-free Christmas.
That is the good thing about this year’s festive season. And so here with an opportunity to wish all readers of this column, a really good Christmas and a prosperous New Year.