A True Story
on Dec 25, 2020
It's a beautiful Christmas morning here in Kiserian as I write this story. The sun is shining brilliantly from a sky that is blue with white patches of clouds here and there. And our home is silent except for the sounds of a few birds chirping in the trees. I like to think the birds are chirping as their own way of praising God for the gift of life. As for me, I am all alone in my room enjoying a time of solitude while reminiscing about the Christmas holidays I have had over the years ever since I was a boy.
The 1993 Christmas was the first one I recollect celebrating in my life. I was a boy of six years at the time, young but full of life. My family members woke up early on that Christmas Day: some to carry out chores at home; others, to fetch water from a nearby waterhole since we didn't have access to piped water here at home back then. Because I was too young to be of much help, I can't recall which duties I was assigned. All I remember was us receiving visitors later in the day with whom we feasted on food. I played boyish games with the children who came with the visitors.
As I continued celebrating more Christmas holidays in the '90s, I always felt I never had another Christmas that was as lively as the 1993 one. I even mentioned that to my siblings on one Christmas Day in the '90s as we cooked chapatis in our sooty kitchen. And I don't really know what made the 1993 Christmas lively for me. Maybe it's because the much I did that day was eat and play games.
Although I never had another Christmas Day in the '90s that was as lively as the 1993 one, I nonetheless enjoyed some of the Christmas festivities I had as a boy, especially the 1996 one. I was in my ancestral land in Murang'a, Kenya, on that 1996 Christmas Day during which I feasted on sumptuous dishes together with my cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. And later in the day when I visited a nearby town called Gikoe, I was taken aback to see it full of people. It was like the whole world had assembled in the town. I guess most of the people in the town that day were city-dwellers who had come to Gikoe to reunite with their families.
From 1997 onwards in my childhood years, the best part of Christmas festivities for me was watching a play in our church that was staged by youths on the eve of Christmas Day. The youths constructed a manger in the church and decorated it with Christmas lights that mesmerized my eyes. And I found it entertaining to watch them act on how Mary was betrothed to Joseph when she was told by an angel that she would conceive a child called Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, how Joseph was mad at Mary when he found out she was pregnant and how King Herod was so jealous of Jesus' birth that he decreed all male babies be murdered. They were very creative and amusing, those youths!
While the 1993 Christmas was the liveliest I ever had in my childhood years, the 2017 one has been the best I have had in my adulthood years - that is, since I turned eighteen about a decade and a half ago. I remember with nostalgia how I downloaded and listened to Christmas carols sang by children in the days before the 2017 December holiday season. And when Christmas Day dawned, I found myself feeling creative and energized. I began the day by penning a story that I enjoyed posting on this blog. When my siblings visited us later in the day with their families, I was elated when some of them informed me that I had lost weight; elated because I had worked hard in the previous three months to regain my youthful swagger.
So much did I enjoy the 2017 Christmas Day that I was unable to sleep on the night of that day. I just stayed awake the whole night thinking refreshing thoughts that made me lose track of time. It really was an exciting Christmas. To this day whenever I listen to the Christmas carols sung by children that I have told you about, I find myself remembering the 2017 Christmas Day. I am working towards having more such wonderful days in the future. Merry Christmas!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Christmas memories, you might also enjoy another one I wrote three years ago on "The Thuita Doctrine". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Taking Stock of 2020
A True Story
on Dec 20, 2020
Wa! I can't believe the year 2020 will come to an end in less than two weeks time. It seems to me like it was just the other day when I was praying and wishing that 2020 would be a terrific year for me, yet about a year has passed since that December day last year when I envisioned what I hoped to achieve in 2020. Exactly where does time go?
Well, 2020 didn't turn out to be a terrific year for me as I had prayed because I didn't meet the woman of my dreams, get married and leave the nest. I also didn't earn enough money to buy myself a car or get an opportunity to travel overseas as it has always been my dream. All the same, I had a fairly good time in 2020 because God provided me with all my needs and nothing catastrophic happened in my life. For that, I am truly thankful.
As I reflect on the year 2020 and how it has been for me, I feel victorious that I came up with a routine that works for me - victorious because for quite a long time since 2008, I had struggled to be disciplined in the way I conduct my affairs. I would, for instance, set a goal of rising early in the morning at around 5.30am but after a few days, I would fizzle out and give up on the goal.
In the course of this year, I developed the discipline of waking up not later than 7.30am. On waking up, I have been making my bed, uttering the Lord's Prayer, taking breakfast and then settling down on my desk to meditate and read as well as play the piano. At around 12.30pm, I have been brushing my teeth, cleaning my room, showering, washing my clothes, eating lunch and settling down for more hours of reading. And at around 4.52pm, I have been going for a one-hour walk to my hometown of Kiserian.
That's the routine I came up with in 2020, and it has worked for me as I have told you. As a result of that disciplined routine, I have lost weight to my desired level and grown more peaceful. I am now no longer the flabby fuddy-duddy I used to be. And this year, I have not been as much plagued by boredom and neurotic guilt as I used to be in the previous years. My dear reader, there is freedom in discipline!
Also as a result of that disciplined routine, I was able to cut down on the time I spend on social media. Believe me, there were times in previous years when I would keep on checking my Facebook and Whatsapp accounts as if my life depended on them. This year, I ceased that habit by checking my social media accounts only in the evening after coming from my one-hour walk to Kiserian. I am proud to report that in 2020, I have spent as much time on Twitter, Linkedin and Goodreads as I have on Facebook and Whatsapp. That's something I am proud about for shizzle given how addictive I had found Facebook and Whatsapp to be.
Due to my reduced social media involvement in 2020, I was able to create more time for reading books, magazines and newspapers. This year, I broke the record, my personal record, by reading more than 40 books. That's another achievement I am proud of because I consider reading books to be the best exercise for keeping our minds in tip-top condition.
Besides reading and playing the piano, the other hobby I consistently indulged in this year was blogging. For quite some time, I had struggled on my blogging hobby since I was unsure on what a bloggable story entails. Imagine I would post an article on this blog, then delete it and then post it again - all because of my lack of insight on what would interest my readers. It dawned on me this year that a story is good for blogging if it is truthful, inspiring or entertaining and as long as it doesn't hurt anyone or reveal information that should be kept secret.
The stories I shared this year on this blog must have been truly entertaining and inspiring judging by the donations and feedback messages I received from my readers. I intend to keep on that trajectory of generating great stories and videos that my blog readers can relate with and draw a lesson or two to implement in their lives.
Perhaps the greatest deed I did this year was growing in my relationship with God. I became a prayer warrior to a point of communing with God even when in the toilet (I kid you not!). And I have prayed not only for my needs but also for wisdom and for courage Like whenever I have felt disturbed and lowly in spirits, I have asked God to restore in me the joy of His salvation. I have also expressed gratitude in my prayers, and I am making it a habit to thank God whenever I am alive with joy and peace.
Enough about me. How about you, my dear reader? How did your 2020 unfold? What goals did you accomplish? And what did you learn from the blessings and challenges that came your way this year? Over to you!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on my reflections on the year 2020, you might also enjoy another story I wrote last year on "A Season to be Jolly". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.