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Uniqueness of Christmas – By Arnold A. Alalibo

By Arnold A. Aalibo | NNP | December 30th, 2019 –  Once again, it is the time of the year when everyone, particularly Christians, globally celebrates Christmas on December 25th. Christmas is a very important day of the year with real meaning for those who claim to be Jesus’ followers. It is a day we look forward to with so much excitement because it is characterized by funfair. From October onwards, it is hard to forget that Christmas is approaching fast. In the Western world where a large number of nominal celebrators of Christmas is found, assorted coloured lights decorate many homes and shops along with flashy decorations and artificial snow painted on shops. Indeed, Christmas is a day I have always looked forward to. I am in love with the season largely because of its uniqueness. It feels me with cheer and wonder and fills me with happiness. Even those who lack spiritual understanding of the occasion’s significance can testify to its importance and how it changes the mood.
When I hear Christmas carols, I cannot help but sing, smile and whistle along. One thing I have realized is that being cheerful during this season could be of high therapeutic value. It is also the surest way of infecting those who come in contact with one with the spirit of joy that often marks the season.
I am not sure I know so much about how Christmas is observed in other climes especially in the West. But one thing I am certain of is that the Day is highly venerated. It is a day love is literally shared among family members. There is an exchange of gifts and pleasantries and this is done in a manner that one would wish the Day doesn’t elapse. Like in the West, Christmas in Nigeria is both a family and community affair. It is a time when lots of family members congregate to celebrate and have fun. One thing that surely takes place in Nigeria during the season is that most people who live in the cities travel to the villages or countryside to meet with their loved ones, who reside there for a joint celebration of the great event.
Families hold parties that last all night long on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas morning, they are found in the church to give thanks to God. Homes are usually decorated with artificial Xmas trees. Children love to play with firecrackers, though sometimes to the chagrin of older people. The reason is that one can hardly differentiate some of the contemporary firecrackers from Boko Haram bombs: and their deafening sound could land a high blood pressure patient in the great beyond. Christmas Day in Nigeria is a day of visits. It is a day family members, friends, pastors and church members, etc. exchange visits. Christmas cards and gifts are also exchanged while children are dressed in fine clothes their parents or guardians bought for the occasion.
Do Nigerians serve special delicacies at Christmas? Yes, of course. Though the delicacies differ according to traditions. The common delicacies are fried or jollof rice, vegetable salad, pounded yam and special stew usually served with goat meat, beef, turkey or chicken. But beyond the exchange of gifts, visits and chop-chop that are witnessed on that day, I think the spiritual significance of the occasion should be given more attention. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the mundane aspect of the festival is unimportant. Definitely, it is significant, but not as the spiritual aspect. That is why during every Christmas season, such as we are in now, the first thing I do is to reflect on the reason for the season. In this, I try to understand the meaning and purpose of the event. I ask myself the question: why was Christ born into the world? Could he not have come in any way other than taking the form of a human being? Then I read a Bible account of his birth in any of the gospels and tell the story to myself.
The problem I have with the ordinary celebration of Christmas is that most of the persons who indulge in this kind of jamboree terminate there, failing to invite the celebrant (Christ) to the partying. This amounts to celebrating a birthday without the celebrant (sometimes deliberately barring him from attending the ceremony). Therefore, making God a part of our celebrations is vital and adds complete meaning to the revel. That is what I do. Also, since Christmas symbolizes giving which God first demonstrated by giving Christ, his only begotten son, to mankind, I do everything to operate same to fellow human beings in proportion with my possession. I give to both the fortunate and the unfortunate. I give to both my friends and my enemies (if I have any). I do all these because God through Christ first gave me.
Since Christmas is a day Christians the world over gather to celebrate the greatest gift of God to man, I spend time expressing gratitude to God. I approach God with a grateful heart. This is important if one must appropriate God’s gift of Jesus Christ to one’s life and daily activities. Finally, I love to spend the season watching Christmas videos and listening to carols. This, however, remains a desire as it has never worked each year (courtesy NEPA now called PHED). It is common knowledge that Nigeria is a country where light is a luxury. But this year, I won’t depend on NEPA to do this particular activity. I will fuel my generator and listen to carols and watch my Xmas videos as well. God willing. On this note, I wish my readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year in advance.

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Posted by on Dec 30 2019. Filed under Arnold Alalibo, Articles, Columnists, NNP Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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