D-e-c-e-m-b-e-r…! Yes, the month of December. We are already in it. It is the month which ushers in Christmas. CHRISTMAS…?! Em-m, wait a minute! Did I hear you say it? What is it by the way? Is it a new brand of cream? No, it is a period noted for merriment, holidays, exchange of gifts/cards, decorations and togetherness. The nitty-gritty remains that Christmas is a period observed universally in commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world.
So many signs mark this period. Yes, the signs of the time are as many as the number of chickens in a sizeable poultry farm. Harmattan, which is often not too friendly. Foggy mornings and nights. Dry winds. Bright skies, dewdrops and dusty atmosphere. All these and many more, individually and collectively, are an announcement of the arrival of the dry season which belches from its bowels many blessings for us to savour.
Dry season. Its advent tells the school children that their vacation is due in just a short while. It tells them, too, that the period of festivities, merrymaking, pomp and pageantry has returned: new cloths, new shoes, new everything. Perhaps new friends too. And for the amorous, time to take stock of old relationships with a view to elevating some partners to the centre stage while others are stepped aside to take the back seat. The dry season is when lovers have a swell time. Could stay outdoors for as long as passion burns without being stampeded home by a cloudy and threatening sky. At night, the moon in its full, in all its fairness, cast its luminous mild beam uninterrupted on lovers, whose utilisation of its pleasing rays cannot be shortened by the intimidating approach of windstorm.
No one is left out in this silent struggle to take advantage of nature, not even the media. Advertisements anouncing the date of one project launch or the other, end-of-year get together, awards of chieftaincy titles, funeral arrangements, etc adorn newspaper pages and fill the air waves. Even the spiritual cannot resist nature’s liberality and arranges his programme in line with the season. It does appear to one that illnesses, bondages, evil spirits and the general activities of Satan have a more fertile ground in the dry season,providing yet another ostensible reason for the preponderance of “wonder workers” during the period. This then provides another angel: that the many months preceding December is a training period, a time of incubation for the “end-of-year actors”. Thus, when they emerge in December, they are fresh,born entirely anew,aglow with the word of God, having received the “call” and are ready to pull down “Babylon” with miracle storms and explosions.
Talking about miracle explosions: “Ikot Ekpene for Christ”, “Aba for Liberation”, “Uyo for Redemption”, “Enugu for Deliverance”, etc leaves one in wonder if one ‘annointed’ actor would not declare one’s parlour a colony, or an occupied territory waiting for and needing liberation. Times are hard,so it is not surprising to see some fast-thinking persons being persuaded by selfish motives to utilize the dry season, a season of Xmas, effectively through religion. It is sophistry at work and sophistry, to my thinking, is one of the signs of the time.
The celebration of Xmas as obtainable in our society can be said to be a paradox in view of the significance of the events. The features as well as the modus operandi of the festival have always been a contradiction to the person of Christ and the purpose of His birth. Rather than honour the birth of Christ, this has turned out to be the greatest day and time the name of Christ usually suffers profanity and blasphemy from the sons of men.
Some Xmas festivities have been so barbaric, satanic and debased that it renders the event not only worldly but also very demonic,thereby making the whole phenomenon rather ironical. Customs and traditions totally devilish and contrary to the doctrines of Christ are always on the increase during Xmas. It is during this period that all kinds of masquerades parade the streets, molesting innocent citizens. The pathetic thing here is that, this is regarded as part of Xmas celebrations. Parties which end with violence, organized by some Xmas celebrants are usually rampant. Besides violence, such parties which are also arranged and convened by “church goers” to commemorate Christ’s birth, give rise to promiscuity. Now, let us reason, is it not a paradox indeed? Of course it is.
Jesus is a symbol of peace, godliness, and orderliness. Prophet Isaiah describes Him as the “Prince of peace”. Peace to individuals, homes, churches, societies and the world at large. How come that the opposite is the case when we celebrate the birth of the very author of peace? As Christians, it is our place to advise and encourage our brothers and sisters (and ourselves too, if any) who engage in this paradoxical celebration of Xmas to decline from such.
Christmas is a time for spiritual stocktaking and sober reflection. It is a time one should offer accommodation to the Blessed Virgin Mary to deliver the young child Jesus in his/her heart. It is a season one should spend in such Christlike lifestyles as singing praises, thanksgiving, adoration, worship, almsgiving and the likes. Nothing short of this is expected of us today. REMEMBER, it is CHRISTMAS, not “CRAZY MASK”. Love you all.
(Godwin S. Obot)