Christmas began early for me this year. The atmosphere pretty much became more electric as soon as my mother-in-law returned home after about two years of being away from Nigeria. From the excitement of picking her up from the airport to her short stay with my nuclear family before she journeyed to her home in Ibadan – every single moment was characterized with sincere gratitude over God’s blessings and the many mercies we have received. We have come a long way; we’ve recorded a number of losses (of loved ones and properties) as we have registered many wins and successes (healthy connections, great ideas and many strides – big and small).
For a country in recession, it is important to be sure whose you are and how you fit in to the puzzle of humanity. Sometimes it sure is easy to forget that ALL things work together for good. My heart leaps for joy each time that I remember the very many meaningful and mutually rewarding relationships that I have.
Typically as the year winds down, many schools organize Christmas parties and amidst the celebration, there’s often a splash of colours that routinely gets displayed. For some reason, other colours do not get the memo as a majority of persons are arrayed with reds, whites and stints of green. Christmas trees, lights, beautiful sights and sounds have a pretty unusual beauty at Christmas. Even the weather though sometimes grudgingly, corroborates the exclusivity of the season as the rainfall surrenders to the harmattan. Then there’s the sales boom as products and services are offered at ridiculous discounts to attract even more patronage. The surge in traffic lends its voice to the increase in merchandising and commuting at this time of the year.
We traveled to Ibadan for the holiday. As I settled down to my role as wife, mother but more specifically daughter-in-law, I was sometimes overwhelmed with the nuances of just being. I watched as my kids basked in the euphoria of seeing their cousins once more; being in one another’s company after a couple of years apart. Oh the beauty of reunions! They partook in every activity possible – washing plates together, feeding the chickens and snails, joining grandma to put up the candies and treats under the Christmas tree, slaughtering and dressing the goat, playing and of course eating. As one married to a Yoruba family who are acutely spiritual and yet very cultural, many of the values we upheld required me fulfilling traditional roles which meant I had to make some adjustments.
In the midst of all of the ‘noise’, I discovered a serenity that was truly amazing. I found it in the laughter of the children, in the continuous chattering of members of our extended family, in the many delicacies that we prepared and ate, in the bond that existed among friends, family and neighbours, ironically in the many episodes of ‘darkness’ caused by power outage and worsened by the scarcity of fuel to run our cars and power the generators. It was in the dust, it was in the sprouts of chaos at fuel stations, it was in the thunders of loud partying. It was in the sparkle in the beggar’s eye, it was in the chuckle of under privileged children as they were given hand outs, it was in the ‘pain’ of not having fulfilled my every dream or many goals drawn up for the year that was at its end. Yes, I realized that Christmas assumed many tints and shades; more than just the symphony of colours available on a spectrum.
Then again, nothing entirely new happens at Christmas but it offers us new perspectives, gratitude, moments of reflections, a rekindling of our candles of hope, opportunities to remember what’s most important and tonnes of nostalgia.
In my opinion, the magic of Christmas differs from every other holiday possible but one, because it does not only provide us with a season to be merry but mo re importantly reminds us of a Holy child that was born to reconcile man to God; it is a constant reminder of how truly intricate our world is and how God’s proposition to us is one of LOVE.