Merry Christmas, spread the cheer to those in need

Family share a meal at Mubao village in Kipipiri Constituency, Nyandarua County on Christmas's day. [John Githinji, Standard]

Today is Christmas Day, when Christians and the world marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Humanity celebrates this day with merriment, feasts, songs and dance.

Besides spending time with family and friends, Christmas offers a moment to share whatever little you have with the less fortunate.

It is an opportunity to spread cheer to those who are hurting from any form of lack. According to legend, when Jesus came to the world in human form, his mission was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That explains his association with the wretched of the world, healing the sick and raising the dead.

He did not just come for the holy, elite and faithful people, but also to save the evil and despised. For so long, the world's poor have been neglected by authorities and the affluent people.

That said, the year 2022, which comes to a close next Sunday, has been without doubt one of the most challenging for majority of Kenyans.

A depilated economy sunk most of them deeper into poverty with many barely surviving. The Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, global commodity price shocks, the long drought, and uncertainty in the run up to the 2022 General Election presented huge challenges for the country.

According to the latest World Bank survey, there was a rise in food insecurity during the first half of the year, most severely in rural areas where over half of households reduced their food consumption from June 2022.

Most households reported an increase in prices of essential food items and with many being unable to access core staples such as beans, rice and maize.

While President William Ruto promised economic freedom once elected, it is already 100 days into his administration and there is no relief yet.

For the first time in as many years, thousands of families will struggle to put food on the table this Christmas. Data shows that nearly two million Kenyans are starving and need urgent food aid.

For them, there will be little merry as hunger pangs persist. How can we as a country make sure this appeal for relief food is not replicated year in year out?

However, despite the challenges we are facing as a country and individuals, we still have reason to celebrate the gift of life.

There are many who wished to mark this important day in the Christian calendar but are unfortunately not with us today.

This festive season also offers a time to reflect on our lives and look forward to a better year 2023. Away from our personal lives, we hope the country makes progress so that the next year will be more prosperous and hopefully offer a truly merry Christmas.

Still, have a merry Christmas and spread the real message of love and compassion.