A reflection on my kitchen-hand-towel and Christmas

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ZK Pahrü Pou
Rethinking the value of small things: Have you ever thought of celebrating special occasions like Christmas by giving attention to rags and fragments and the broken pieces that we daily use? For most of us, for most of the time, we neglect the value and usefulness of small things that are in our possession. Think of our life without small things like toothbrush, mirror, or piece of metal like nail cutter, scissor, or piece of cloths like handkerchief, towel, and so on. In fact, they are not the most expensive things we possess but the most ‘useful’ things for our daily life. All these small things have their own roles to play enabling us to live a better life. For instance, a handkerchief is indispensably important to keep clean our dresses. Without handkerchief our expensive shirt or coat could be dirtied while the need of cleaning nose arises. It saves us from getting embarrassment from others by helping us in cleaning our nose, eyes, mouth and dress.  These small things are indispensable part of our life and so may be considered as the most ‘useful’ things in life. However, we consider them ‘less important’ by comparing it to costly coat suit that we wear. This conception then is applied to our society making someone much more important than the others.

Significance of Kitchen Hand Towel: Of late, I came to realise the importance of my kitchen hand towel. Till that time, I thought my formal dress were more important than my kitchen hand towel. This piece of cloth is just a piece of cloth; a rag that seems to have no value of its own. But it gains significance when it is reflected through the person Jesus who came to this world as a rag, used by everyone, experienced brokenness and rejection.   A kitchen hand towel is placed on the gas stove table or hangs on a pin in kitchen wall.  In times of need, kitchen hand towel is always there for us but we hardly acknowledge the usefulness of it.  It is this dirty small piece of cloth that keeps many other things clean. Every now and then, as we cook and touch something dirty, we wipe my hand on it and keep my hand clean again. Had it not be this dirty piece of cloth we might have dirtied my clean dress.   When my tea pot handle is too hot to grip, we use my kitchen towel to take it down. Sometime we use it to clean gas stove or table. Everyone wipes their hands on it after taking food. Unconsciously, in doing so, everyone – young or old, man or woman is seeking help from the kitchen hand towel.

Jesus and Kitchen Hand Towel: Jesus did not come to this world as an expensive coat suit. He came as a rag – like a kitchen hand towel. He was born into an ordinary manger much like the place where we keep our kitchen hand towel. He was not born in a luxurious palace even as we do not store hand-towel in cosy almirahs. He made himself available to all people. Had he been born in a palace, it would be not possible or too difficult for common people to come and see him. Kitchen hand towel is easily accessible by everyone even as Jesus did not refuse anyone (poor or rich, sinners, tax collectors, immoral men and women, Jews or gentiles). The rich people and the poor alike owned kitchen hand towel. Throughout his life, Jesus continuously served others like kitchen hand towel. He did not seek for fame and high status as coat suit. He did not ask others for a favour for the good deed he did for them. He dirtied his hand and cleansed others. He touched the wounds of the lepers and washed his disciple’s feet. He sacrificed his body to be broken so that we might become whole. Despite his immense service rendered for the betterment of human beings, people rejected him like a torn piece of cloth.

Coat Suit People & Dirty People: We, the coat suit people, ought to say ‘thanks’ to those who remained dirty to sustain our life. These dirty people formed the rags, fragments and the broken ones in our society.  Even the old, differently disabled people, the sick, farmers, women, children, and others – are all important in one way or the other. They are no less important than the educated and the rich people even as kitchen hand towel is no less important than the costly coat or polished shined shoe. One should not look down on someone simply because their hands are dirty. In fact life continues because their hands are dirty working for us. It is the kitchen-hand-towel-section-of-people who produce food for us.  They mend our broken shoes, dress our unscrupulous hair, clean our dirty clothes and so on. It is they who cook food for us during every special occasion. Their hands become dirty just for us. They sacrifice sleepless nights. They experience the brunt of wintry cold. They also struggle with the heat from fire as they cook food for feast. Their clothes are dirty and they look messy.  They do not eat the tasty portion of meat but reserve for others. This section of people certainly represents kitchen hand towel whose contribution remained invisible and unrecognised.  One may say that cleanliness is next to Godliness. But only a dirty hand can lead people to God. In the end, a dirty hand that serves others is even better than the clean lips that preach.

Kitchen Hand Towel and Christmas: On Christmas, Jesus became the kitchen hand towel for all people. So everyone must share this joyous occasion equally. We do not celebrate Christmas for Pastor or mission workers. It is not for Christmas speaker. It is not for big officer. It is for Jesus Christ. Everyone must be treated with equal respect and dignity. There cannot be class system in Christmas. A church chowkidar/peon ought to be treated on a par with Pastor.  A cooks for Christmas should not be treated as inferior to Christmas speaker. Christian ministers should not be treated as more important than a mere church member. A simple villager is not a lesser human being than a high salaried gentleman.  Sadly so often, we, coat suit people, steal this special occasion to make ourselves more important than others. We must become one with the kitchen-hand-towel people to make this Christmas a meaningful one. Christmas is truly a best time to recognise and acknowledge the dignity and value of each other. Let’s humble down and reconsider the value of small things that we possess. This may help us to understand the value of people of those whom we consider as rags, broken pieces and fragments in our society.  Christmas will be truly meaningful only when we celebrate knowing that Jesus came for the least and the last ones. Hence, let us celebrate this Christmas by gathering all the rags, broken pieces and fragments in our society even as Jesus restored the meaning of the leftovers after feeding the five thousand men. Jesus came as a rag – giving meaning to life of those people of kitchen-hand-towel status. Be the kitchen-hand- towel and serve someone during this Christmas.  By the way, who is going to eat the best portion of meat this Christmas?

Source: The Sangai Express

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