The traffic is already stressful and time-consuming. But beginning this weekend it will get worse, especially in Monrovia’s most crowded thoroughfares, Somalia Drive, Tubman Boulevard, United Nations Drive and Bushrod Island. It is through Somalia Drive and Bushrod Island that goods are transported from the Free Port of Monrovia to the capital city and to all parts of the country. This all important activity prepares the way for the year’s busiest shopping time, Christmas.
But this nerve-racking logistical nightmare and all the headaches that come with it—the anxious and waiting eyes and hands stretched out to bread winners from every direction for their “Christmas.” But there are always the tight budgets and scarcity of funds and the decision of who will get “Christmas.” Amidst the hustle and bustle, meanwhile, the real meaning of Christmas often gets lost.
This yearly event is the birth anniversary of Christ, the Savior of the world, who came to bring peace and goodwill to all humankind. This is the essence of Christmas which many, in the rush of shopping, preparation and celebration, often forget. Yet peace, goodwill and reconciliation are not to be forgotten, for deep down in every human heart THESE are, believe it or not, what impel us all to get ready for this most special day! Why? Each one of us wants to make SOMEBODY happy on that day, be that a child, a loved one, a neighbor or even someone with whom we have recently had some differences. THIS is the time for love, for healing, for unity, for peace.
The current week brought us a vivid reminder of some things that need to be done at Christmas. First, the nation was pleased to see their President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, identifying with fire victims at the Kesselly Barracks in Schieffelin, Margibi County.
She went further to set the pace on Wednesday evening when she invited the two other branches of government, the Legislature and Judiciary, to join her and the rest of the Executive branch in lighting Christmas trees on Capitol Hill. This is probably the first time that Christmas trees have been lit formally at the Legislature and Judiciary, and most especially with the Heads of all three branches present.
This is a small but important indication that our government is together. We pray that this expression of unity and togetherness in the government at Christmas time will reverberate (ring, resound) throughout the coming year. The Psalmist tells us, “O how good and how pleasant it is for brothers [and sisters] to dwell in unity!” In this divided and violence-prone society of ours, it is most encouraging to see our government together. It sends a positive signal to the nation and to the world that all Liberians would want to emulate.
We further recall that it was the Norwegian Ambassador, Madame Sofia Strand who, presenting her letters of credence to President Sirleaf, reminded her that it was in Norway that Liberia’s first Nobel Laureates, Ellen and peace activist Leyma Gbowee, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Prize was celebrated throughout the world, particularly in Liberia. But during the past two years things have gone embarrassingly sour between the two Liberian sisters.
Our hope is that Ambassador Sofia Strand’s reminder of the momentous event in Oslo will lead these two sisters to make peace this Christmas. It would have been heartwarming had Leyma been invited to the Christmas tree Lighting. But it is not late for these two eminent Liberian sisters to get together again and show the nation the love and peace that Christmas brings.