AS I STROLLED DOWN the street of Abuja for my usual early Friday morning exercise, I observed that the streets were decorated with Christmas lights. Some hanged the light in front of their gates, shops and supermarkets. A melodious Christmas musical echoes of expectation filled the street. Everywhere was filled with dust. The weather was cool and looking at the sky, I could see the sun, so bright and lovely to behold. I also observed that the street was busy unlike before. I saw smiles on the faces of young people as they prepare for Christmas holiday. As they walk to their various car parks, some were carrying  Ghana-must-go bags with their cooking utensils, on their head. The car parks were filled with people. Some cars were already overloaded with goods. Some of the kids in the park were busy admiring their new Christmas clothes, shoes and eye glasses. Some of the touts in the park were busy carrying and struggling with the luggages of passengers.

I had pity for a young woman who was travelling with all her five kids. Her footwear was too dusty, just like that of a farmer. Due to the fuel scarcity, I wondered if she could be able to afford the cost of transportation.

In the evening, I was able to interview some parents and children who came for  Christmas carol in the Church. There in the party, majority of them were happy sharing their views as regards the festive celebration with me. One Miss. Chidera said, “Daddy said that we will be travelling on New Year, I’ve not seen my grandma for the past two years, we only speak on phone. I’ll be happy to spend this festive holiday with her and I feel delighted.”

Master. Olisa Metu lamented the immoral attitude (Stealing, prostitution, cheating) of young men and women during festive periods. According to him, the aftermath of such behaviours are rape, unwanted pregnancy, contamination of infectious diseases, prey to kidnappers and ritualists and some even end up in jail. He went further aggressively, “I’m not travelling anywhere, my travelling does not add anything to my being.”

Mr. Kenneth said, “To be frank with you, I’m not travelling home for Christmas. I spent a lot this year. My children have been pestering me for Christmas clothes and shoes, I cannot afford them now and I cannot steal in order to satisfy their needs. They have to manage the ones they have. I believe that God will beautify the next Christmas celebration for us.” 

I was highly impressed with Mr. Kenneth’s sense of contentment. His level of self sufficiency, comportment and hope is highly commendable.

A critical assessment of yearly Christmas and New Year celebration revealed that they are too materialistic. According to Rev. Fr. Sebastian Ejie, “Christmas is not a time to spend the entire money one earned in a particular year, but a time to return to God in thanksgiving for the life we are living.” No matter how busy, Christians should always make out time to evaluate their lives and also reflect on the personality of Christ whom they are celebrating. Reflection and evaluation will help Christians to wake up spiritually. Nevertheless, individual and group evaluation programme will helps Christians to know their performance during the year and to forge ahead with a New Year resolution.

There is also a popular saying that, “Christmas will come and go.” It is a pity that most people do not align with this quote. They rather act as if Christmas celebration will be banned the coming year.  Different groups will soon start their end of the year parties. It’s now normal for people to come for meetings to cause problems, confusion and division. Some come to drink themselves to stupor. Such people console themselves with the saying that, “Instead of the wine to remain in the calabash, let it remain in the stomach.” Some even go to the extent of feeding others with poison. Some will not attend parties and social gatherings because they feel that they are yet to meet up with the set standard of the group or society. What a Christ-less celebration.

Some parents are not helping matter; they use abusive words of comparism on their children during festive period. In such situation, coming back home becomes an uphill task for some people.

An incident occurred at last year’s Christmas; it happened that a young man was fired in his company work. The young man in question embezzled over Six hundred thousand Naira from the company  account. It was later revealed that the man acted out of frustration. His mother always frustrate him every Christmas by comparing his achievement with that of his mates and this led him to the act. I pity parents of our generation who are in such act. Experience had shown that such children eventually turn to use them for money ritual.

Beloved, all fingers are not equal. Christmas celebration is not a time to live beyond your means, or portray what you are not. As Christians we ought to imbibe the spirit of simplicity, humility, obedience, and patience. Christ whom we celebrate possessed these qualities.

Some people have been termed, “Ala bu otu.” Dear reader, Christmas celebration is not a time to rush from one part of the country to the other. Christmas celebration must not always be in the village, it can also be celebrated with the less privileged, those in the prisons, those in the hospital, and with those in refugee camps. It is a time to offer our time and talent for the happiness, and progress, not only to our blood family members but for the extended community. For whatsoever you do to the least of these brethren that you do onto me; thus says the Lord.

As I jugged back home, I branched at a supermarket to get a bottle of soft drink, I overheard a woman saying, “Don’t you know you have to always be with extra money, because things are costly during this season.” Dear market men and women, Christmas is not a time to hijack prices, cheat or deceive others. It is not a time to kill, or commit fornication. Rather, it is a time for reconciliation; it is a time to give peace, a time to show love, a time to give hope, and a time to bring joy.



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