The following is a review of Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa, which has been posted on Pages and Paws blog this week.
By Terry Lister
Genre: Non-Fiction/Travel, 2022
Via: Author Request
Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
– Steve Maraboli, winner of the United Nations Award for Philanthropy (as quoted in Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa.)
One of our favorite travel writers is back. This time Terry Lister offers a collection of experiences and observations just in time for the Christmas season.
Titled Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa, Lister’s newest collection covers Christmas traditions and celebrations in over a dozen African countries. These include both predominantly Muslim countries like Morocco and Tunisia to predominantly Christian countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. And all points in between, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, the Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.
This whirlwind tour of Christmas in select African counties focuses on how material things do not a joyous Christmas make. That’s because “despite the poverty and difficulty many people living in these African countries experience daily, they live the true meaning of Christmas and sincerely give thanks for what has been provided for them.”
Can you say, “Breath of fresh air”?
So whether it’s getting new shoes and clothes in Uganda, “My Christmas is on you” in Liberia, carnival, music, food and football in Sierra Leone, “Babu Christmas” and fireworks of Tanzania, the “most celebrated holiday in the country” status in Rwanda, or “Krismisso” across fourteen ethnic groups in Senegal, readers vicariously experience a wide variety of Christmas activities and celebrations throughout a broad range of cultures and customs in this lively and engaging read.
Told with Lister’s trademark warmth and radiant You Are There style, Peace, Joy and Love captures the spirit of the season for armchair travelers and others. Vivid word pictures and photos enhance the lively prose. (Tip: Don’t read this book on an empty stomach. The descriptions of food, parties, family meals and other food-related festivities will have you drooling.)
Many of the countries in this collection are in “a poor economic state.” Although the average African family “finds the going tough all year long,” great efforts are made to ensure that “happiness, joy, and love are felt throughout the festive period.” Concludes the author:
“May we all gain a better appreciation for each other and may the lives of all be uplifted.”
Just like this little book. It’s not only informative, it’s also filled with warmth and joy. Through visits to some of the poorest regions in the world, readers will discover the true spirit of Christmas sans the crass commercialism that often surrounds the holiday in the West. It’s refreshing. Uplifting. And hopeful.
Sip & Savor
At just over one hundred pages, Peace, Joy and Love is a lithe and nimble read. You can read it in an afternoon, possibly in front of a crackling fire with a hot cuppa. But this is not a book to be hurried. Or gulped down in a single sitting. It’s a thoughtful work that’s meant to be sipped and savored slowly, like fine wine. Indeed, readers are likely to return again and again for additional helpings of this finely crafted collection of “armchair travels” to Africa.
I’d grab a copy now ‘if i were you.