By Paul Ejime
Year 2018 is about to become history and like in previous years, it is another festive period when Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Typically, most Christians and non-Christians alike, spare no efforts to make the occasion as memorable as ever. Many will be so immersed in the FANTASY of the occasion that they miss the REASON for the SEASON!
But it is only human, for were it not so, we would have learned from the lessons of the past.
In our everyday life, we struggle with decisions around Fantasy and Reality. Don’t get me wrong; everyone is entitled to Dream; to Hope; to Aspire; to be Ambitious, and even to Fantasize! The problem arises when the ambition begins and ends at the dream, hope, aspiration or fantasy level. There must be a conscious and deliberate effort to move from dream/fantasy to reality.
For instance, Nigeria, Africa’s richly endowed and most populous nation has always had the potential for greatness. But after 58 years of self-governance, the narrative has not changed. Not because the human/mineral/material resources, etc. have disappeared, but largely because enough efforts have not been put into translating/transforming the potential from the realm of fantasy to actuality.
Even in our individual life, we dream of living in a fantasy land or imaginary Paradise; full of dream jobs, dream cars, dream houses, and even fantasize about dream marriages! The dreams are always all sweet until we wake up to the difficult part of actualizing them. It then dawns on us that dreams can only be realized when due process is followed, for there is no progress without a process.
Ironically, in this age of digital fantasy and mercantilism, many have fallen for the lies of phantom miracle workers, in a fantasy World with fake men and women of God, who preach instant gratification and promise prosperity using irreligious “seed-sowing, cash-and-carry or highest-bidder” formula!
Many parents, in their ruinous chase for material wealth deny their children quality time and upbringing. They are not role models, but exhibitors of ill-gotten wealth. The young ones copy them as products of dysfunctional family systems and warped moral values in a failed society.
No wonder the youth of today wander in the fantasy land which they mistake for reality! If their parents can acquire fortunes within a short space of time for doing nothing, getting good education or working to earn a decent living becomes unattractive. Indeed, you often hear the young ones of today boast and brag openly that they must make it at all cost! Lacking in parental care and abandoned to the vagaries of an uncaring society, many children have succumbed to peer pressure and become hooked on hard drugs, associated with crimes of different descriptions. (Incidentally, some of the cock-tails of life-wrecking drugs go by the name ecstasy and even fantasy).
So, my dear brothers and sisters, on this Special occasion when one year draws to a close and we look forward to a New Dawn, I want to encourage us to reflect deeply on how we celebrate and draw life lessons in fantasy and reality.
For instance, do we celebrate to the point of losing the import/meaning of the celebration, such as celebrating Christmas without Christ? Or do we allow the worries of life to steal our celebration?
Why are festive periods or celebration usually associated with unnecessary or unexplained increase in the cost of living? Suddenly, the cost of everything from transportation to food stuffs and provisions goes sky-high. Flights and hotel accommodations are fully booked. In some cases, many people are stranded on the roads or at the airports for several days and nights for a journey that should normally take a few hours.
Some of us empty our bank accounts while others borrow a fortune to celebrate, as if there will be no tomorrow. This is all Fantasy!
But why do we repeat the “fantasy mistakes?” There may not be any easy answers, but it suffices to say that the first step to a solution is an acknowledgement of who we are; where we are; where we are going, and how to get to our reality destination. More importantly, what impact or difference are we making from our little corner in addressing the many needs around us? What legacy do we intend to leave behind towards making the World a better place than we met it?
In sum, celebration is like a dream. And the freedom to dream is not limited to any religion, race, creed, social status, profession or geographical location. Neither is the liberty to fantasize. But the hard truth is that fantasy, remains exactly what it is – a mere dream – until it is translated/transformed into reality. It is also a truism that a dream can die if not translated/actualized. But reality is the evolution from fantasy to actuality – a dream nurtured to assume a place in history as life event, an accomplishment or experience!
As we celebrate from time to time, may Almighty God grant us the discerning spirit and wisdom to be prudent in the application of resources! May we always distinguish between fantasy and reality! And whenever we have cause to celebrate, May we never lose the true meaning of or reason, for such celebration. Amen!
Merry Christmas and A Prosperous 2019 to you all and your families!