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By Dennis NicholsThe ‘spirit’ is everywhere, the spirits are flowing, and Christmas, despite efforts to downplay its festiveDennis Nicholsaspect, is alive and kicking; it may be kicking some people a bit too hard in the wallet, but that’s an indulgence many people don’t mind this time of the year.Some fundamentalist Christians argue that such over-the-top gratification runs counter to the true spirit of the season – the birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago, and its colossal, sobering significance for humanity, particularly Christians. My friend J.C. (not Jesus Christ) begs to differ.J.C. has been a friend from my high school days, but our paths diverged, and rarely crossed, until about 30 years after we had departed the hallowed halls of Queen’s College. However there was one thing that helped reconnect us, a year before the millennial milestone. That thing was religion,Air Max Wholesale Free Shipping, and the search for a spiritual truth we could both understand and live with.The reawakening of our friendship started alarmingly, and humorously, one day in 1999 during the Christmas season. Actually it was an ability to see the funny side of things that quickly put any fears I had, to rest. My friend was, as we say, not in his right senses on that day.I was walking on Main Street in the vicinity of Guyana Stores when I heard a stentorian shout, ‘Nicko, wha’ happenin’ bai?’ There he was, in unsightly garb,NFL Jerseys From China, with a coloured kerchief tied pirate-style on his head and brandishing a wicked-looking blade,Maglie Serie a 2018/19, much to the disquiet of pedestrians nearby. I returned his greeting and added my own question as to how he was doing, feeling rather idiotic, since it obvious that he was displaying some kind of manic energy.“Bai Nicko” he bellowed,Cheap Jerseys From China, “I just come from de border; I had to go an’ rescue Guyana and tek she back from Brazil, yuh know…” He added some muddled description of how he achieved the feat, the actual words of which I cannot now recall. People were staring at us, probably intrigued by the incongruity of our appearance and the mutual comradeship we appeared to be genuinely sharing.At the end of our bemused conversation,Air Max Pas Cher Livraison Rapide, I gave him directions to where I was living. When I told another friend of my encounter that day, he asked me if I was as crazy as J.C., I told him I wasn’t. He shook his head in bewilderment.J.C. turned up at my home a few days later where I introduced him to my wife and children. He told me a sad, rambling story of the path his life had taken over the last two decades. I will not go into details, except to say that he had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, was on intermittent medication, and had been all but deserted by some of those who had been closest to him. As he spoke, his innate intelligence shone through occasionally, and I was more than a bit surprised to hear him expound in a rational manner on a number of profound social and philosophical matters. One was the Christmas spirit theme and the clash between its pagan traditions and sacred significance.I told J.C. I was more inclined to downplay the pagan festivities, and that it should indeed be a time for reflection and gravity as we ponder the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, the mission of the Christ child, and their immense implication for sinful humans. He waved aside my concerns and advised me that the sheer goodwill of the collective human spirit at this time of year with its underlying message of peace and reconciliation far outweighed the more superficial aspects of decoration, merriment and gastronomic excess.He added that even some of those so-called pagan elements still practiced today had their origin in beliefs of good overcoming evil, rebirth, renewal, and hope. These include greenery, symbolizing the cycle of creation, the giving of gifts,NFL Jerseys From China, house-to-house caroling, float parades and carnivals (think of our masquerade bands) holiday feasts, and church rituals. Even the drunkenness and revelry associated with ancient Roman feasts, celebrated the ‘Birth (or rebirth) of the Unconquerable Sun’ on December 25th, a date that later came to be associated with the awesomeness of Jesus’ birth.He implied that Jesus/God was much more interested in the way we treat each other during the season (forgiveness, generosity) than in the traditional trimmings to which we attach little real significance. In any case, Guyanese are not insensible as to the true merits of the season.Despite the frivolity and materialism which surround it, Christmas is still very much about the birth of Emmanuel (God with us) and about the reconciliation of human nature with divine character. Most of us make a special and conscious effort to be kinder and a little more Christ-like at this time of the year. What we can probably focus on is taking this kinder, gentler spirit into the new year and keeping it there from January to December. J.C. would concur.My friend’s material wealth was little to none, but in 2000, on my wife’s birthday, he surprisingly and hilariously presented her with a large rotisserie chicken, and gifted me with a cherished painting he had done. In the midst of his mental turmoil, he helped one of my sons understand a complicated bit of math he’d been struggling with.When I told him about my eldest son’s death by drowning, he consoled me with his belief that Kwesi’s futile thrashing in the water was just a physical, automatic reaction; that his soul/spirit was already at peace. True or not, it helped diminish the fear and terror of what had happened five years earlier.I will never forget the look of shock and surprise on his face when I asked him to stay with my two youngest children while I went out on an errand. “You trust me to stay alone with your children?” he queried. “Yeah man,” I responded nonchalantly, but I did feel some amount of anxiety as I left the house. There was no problem though, and when I returned I felt that the faith I’d put in my friend had been vindicated.Now as another Christmas rolls around, I think about J.C. and the clichéd reason for the season. I heard that he is in an interior location doing what he needs to do in earning a living. That’s great, and I hope our paths cross again before either of us kicks the proverbial bucket.A few days ago, as I wended my way through various parts of the city, I couldn’t help but be taken in by the ‘niceness’ of our rapidly-beautifying capital and that unmistakable seasonal atmosphere that somehow defies definition. You see it, you feel it, you welcome it, and you cling to it as a truly ‘Guyanese thing.’  I think both my friend, J.C, and the other J.C. wouldn’t mind that too much, because after all, it’s Christmas. I concur.