As a child, Christmas in England was always such an exceptional experience. You could literally smell the excitement in the air; or maybe it was just the good old British frosty air.
The experience didn’t change at all when I first moved for school. It was the usual Family reunions, Church celebrations, presents, binge watching Christmas movies, music, dancing, lots of food and drinks; my favourite was rum cake, and the eventual Partying with friends.
Unfortunately as time went by, the Christmas spirit evaporated into tin air. I don’t know if it was just me or if it was a national decline of festive cheers. what ever it was, that was that for my English Christmas experience.
Moving back to Nigeria I started a “Christmas in Lagos” ritual. It was mostly about the parties and concerts, the typical “Dirty December” madness. At some point the whole essence of Christmas started to lose form. I had moved from the Religious and family driven purpose of the Yuletide, to an empty need for clubbing and drinking with acquaintances.
Christmas in 2020 was again a quiet one. The out burst of covid 19 kept everyone at home. Although I tried partying with friends on the day, it felt like any other day.
I had no plans for 2021 Christmas celebrations, the year had come with so much challenges and a lot of stretching. It was a maturing year for me, mentally, spiritually and even physically. The idea of partying with friends slowly faded into an occasional activity. I started to enjoy my space better and made time for those that truly mattered. As the year drew to an end, I still hadn’t paid any mind to make any plans for Christmas. I just wanted a few days to myself, to think and reevaluate my entire life journey. I checked into one of the top hotels in Lagos for 2 nights, ate, slept and planned while basking in the peace that comes with solitude.
I came back to Abuja extremely excited having found peace in my journey and knowing that my oldest, brotherly, friend was still in town for a week before Christmas. I met up with him and we caught up on each other’s lives and plans for the future. Naturally we created our super pre-Christmas activity fun fair. My little cousins joined us as we went to see the wiz kid show, attended the Play Network ball, Saw the latest Spider-Man movie and a host of fun filled activities.
So I guess my Christmas started to plan itself. I ordered human sized Giran-ruwa (fresh fish) for my Mum and I to make healthy Christmas fish roast for the family. We also made preparations to do some charity during the holidays.
The most important of all celebrations, will be rekindling my Anglican heritage and my faith in the church not just as a religious place, but an avenue to express my honour and dedication to God.
Over the course of the year, I came to the realisation that my relationship with God should not be about making demands, extremely dramatic expressions or seeking miracles and signs, but rather contentment in the daily signs and wonders that eventually form the big things. The goal is total surrender to God’s will and devoted submission to His supremacy. This is the way I intend to celebrate the gift of Grace which is the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, not just this Christmas but every Christmas moving forward.
Finally Christmas is back. Acknowledging the purpose of the celebration, spreading love with family, friends and those in need. It is indeed beginning to feel a lot like Christmas the best time of year.
For all those that didn’t feel the Christmas spirit this year, I pray that you’ll soon find purpose and meaning in the celebrations moving forward. I pray your Christmas experiences moving forward will be one with deep understanding and gratitude for all God’s gifts in your life such as family, friends, neighbours and especially the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, who is the word of God that became flesh (sonship) for the sake of sacrifice and liberation.
And for all those who experience the joy of the season. I pray that no matter where life takes you, you’ll always experience the joy and hope this season brings.