A couple of kind thoughts and gestures have brightened up Christmas Eve for us.
Earlier today, my mother’s Christmas celebration was almost ruined when she lost her wallet containing some valuables – a couple of cards and some cash – at an Indian restaurant.
In despair, my mother returned home and prayed that somehow her wallet would be found and returned.
Hours later when I walked into the same restaurant to get a takeaway, the cashier called out to me and said that a young fairly senior Customs officer had found the wallet and handed it to her.
The cashier, who had just returned from a pilgrimage to India, passed the wallet to me, the contents intact.
That anonymous Customs officer, probably from Butterworth, had saved my mother’s Christmas. I told my mother that my late father may have had something to do with that as well: he was a Customs officer too.
Later this evening, a couple of Muslim friends, a teacher and a political activist, from a kampung on the mainland dropped by to spend Christmas Eve with us over a meal of chicken briyani. We discussed the political situation – the worrying corruption, the teaching of Science and Maths in English (the teacher was in favour of a couple of subjects being taught in English apart from the language itself), the load of clerical work that teachers are burdened with, civil servants’ pay increases (apparently quite high for the Jusa grade top officers)…
The time flew and soon it was time for their azan prayers. One of them politely said they should take leave, but the other one, whom I was more familiar with, enquired, “Is it okay if we say our prayers here in your living room?”
Sure, I replied.
So off they went for their ablution and shortly after, they returned to the hall. Facing west in the direction of Mecca, they stood, then knelt and crouched forward. Behind them, the lights of the Christmas tree flickered, the reflection dancing on the walls of the darkened room.
A few minutes later when they had finished, the cikgu greeted my mother with a message that came straight from the heart, “We prayed for blessings for this house and your family. May Allah bless this house forever.”
And with that, they left, disappearing like angels into the night. That was one of the most meaningful personal blessings I have heard.
Now, this is the Malaysia I would like to live in, a place where little gestures of reaching out in human kindness, honesty and thoughtfulness can make a world of difference and even touch hearts.
Before I say goodnight, this song, one of my favourite Christmas hymns, is dedicated to you all.