The night comes early, in these solstice times. One can imagine that even in pagan ages, there would have been a few torches, a few festive and naive marches to challenge the darkness, to wrest from winter the promise of light. But in our shabby cities, totally deprived of electricity, we wouldn’t even know where to plug in a garland. There have been a few initiatives to decorate a few places. But everywhere else, Christmas didn’t stop this year. Not that we regret the flashy, noisy and trivial hysteria generally associated with this holiday in Lebanon, but all the same.
In the plundered country, this obscurity is an odious injustice to which is added an unprecedented impoverishment. We say the Lebanese are resilient. Here, however, is one of the rare circumstances in which this power, if it is one, fails to operate. It is clear that no electricity, no party. But Christmas did not wait for electricity or prosperity to happen. Something happened that killed our ability to savor this moment without a riot of decorations from China, without plastic, electronics and surpluses of all kinds. Perhaps the time has come to rediscover the tender and peaceful spirit of this celebration.
In the time of our ancestors, the fir tree was represented by a few pine branches which were willing to grow not far from the coast, most of the time surrounding citrus orchards. The balls were pinecones and the lights were small candles stuck in patterned tin clips, carefully tied among the green thorns that didn’t risk flaming. At best they smoked a little while smelling inside. The garlands were cut from colored paper. A small crowd of cardboard cherubs imitated a choir. But this “fir tree” was only incidental. The big deal was the nativity scene which was being built in small steps, with that famous kraft paper with its characteristic smell, painted brown and studded with multicolored splashes, which provided the landscape. Always a piece of furniture or several served as a support for this construction. We crumpled the paper because the earth is never smooth. From there, all fantasies were allowed. The most skilful made rivers, ponds and rails along which, moved by a hydraulic system as simple as it was ingenious, the characters of history two thousand years ago glided. Often the main characters, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Magi, the ox, the donkey, a sheep and even dromedaries chained to each other in a caravan, carved from olive wood, were brought back from the Holy Land. This was before the violation of the Territory and the invention of borders. Lentils, chickpeas, beans, planted a month earlier to symbolize the miracle of life but which were already leaning too shadowy and cramped in an environment and a season that were not theirs. On all the buffets and consoles elbowed nostalgic greeting cards, sent from all over the world where family and friends swarmed away on boats to seek their place elsewhere.
On thick carpets reputed to “kill the cold”, the children knelt down, sang the best they could the hymns they had learned, welcomed the applause of the adults with a blush, happy to feel safe in the middle of this benevolent circle. . Did they find gifts at the foot of the crib at daybreak? Before the invention of Santa Claus by Coca-Cola, it was angels who left for them modest bundles of books and sweets, painted dolls and building blocks made of a few pieces of wood.
And if the golden age of Lebanon, which we are agitated about like a lost paradise, was basically only a disposition of the mind to take for abundance a frugality enveloped in love?
The night comes early, in these solstice times. One can imagine that even in pagan ages, there would have been a few torches, a few festive and naive marches to challenge the darkness, to wrest from winter the promise of light. But in our shabby cities, totally deprived of electricity, we wouldn’t even know where to plug in a garland. There were quite a few…
We would love to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this incredible material
Discover our social media accounts as well as other related pageshttps://nimblespirit.com/related-pages/