It was a night before Christmas.
Clara stood in the rain. She watched as the old woman made her way to the limo, a helper hoisting an umbrella over her as she cuddled two brown shopping bags.
Lights were up in many buildings. Shoppers rang bells for Christmas sales. Adults and children jostled and shoved around her as the busy street bustle with activity.
“Move!” The honk of the horn ricked her back to the present. She skipped away from the middle of the road as the driver spewed curses at her as he zoomed off.
Clara knew what awaited her at the house. And she was not disappointed. She had hoped that Christmas would be different. That maybe mama would love her more.. or at least pay attention to her for once. Maybe take her out to buy a new dress. But in the last few days leading up to Christmas eve, mama seemed to run on a bad temper.
She unlocked the front door and flipped the switch. The lights were out.
Using the light from her phone, she made her way to the centre table. Mama left a note on the table.
Dinner in warmer. Out on night shift. Mama.
She sighed as she crumpled the brown paper and tossed into a nearby trash can.
As always, she would be alone and there would be no special times or gifts this year. Without family and friends, the house would be boring.
No love, no hope. And it was Christmas.
As Theresa stepped into the Limo, she looked through the window at the little girl that seemed to lock gazes with her. She looked so innocent, so free. She must be happy this Christmas.
If Sarah were alive, she would have been just a bit older. Well, if she had lived, she would have named her Sarah.
But she had spent her hey days living in the spotlights of Nollywood. If only she knew that she had one chance at conception. She would not have sacrificed Sarah to the Women’s clinic when she felt she was too happy to have a child.
Matthew’s pleas had fallen on deaf ears. Now, he was gone. No offspring. No love.
Christmas was bland now. If only her life could revert to the Christmas before she signed up for acting school. She would make better decisions.
Ismail pulled into the driveway, thoughts far from the present. Last Christmas was a swell time at the club. Her boss had promised to pay – this night would be fun too.
As soon as removed the key from the ignition, Farida came to mind. And the accident last year… He pictured the disappointment in his wife’s face when he walked into the hospital lobby that night, alcohol and vomitus staining his shit after the call, and couldn’t produce money for the hospital bills.
“Nothing would happen.” He consoled himself. It was Christmas anyway.
Christmas: what it is today.
In many countries of the world, the celebration of Christmas on December 25th is a high point of the year.
From November onwards, it is impossible to forget that Christmas is coming. Coloured lights decorate many town centres and shops, along with shiny decorations, and artificial snow painted on shop windows. In streets and shops, ‘Christmas trees’ (real or plastic evergreen ‘conifer’ trees) will also be decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments.
Shopping centres become busier as December approaches and often stay open till late. Shopping centre speaker systems will play Christmas ‘carols’ – the traditional Christmas Christian songs, and groups of people will often sing carols on the streets to raise money for charity. Most places of work will hold a short Christmas party about a week before Christmas. Although traditional Christmas foods may be eaten, drink (and plenty of it) means that little work will be done after the party!
By mid-December, most homes will also be decorated with Christmas trees, coloured lights and paper or plastic decorations around the rooms.
In many countries, most people give Christmas greeting cards to their friends and family, and these cards will be hung on the walls of their homes.
Today, not many people consider the religious meaning to Christmas. Most people will not go to a church meeting, even at Christmas. It has become a busy race to spend money on presents, and get ready for the Day. Shops stay open till late Christmas Eve and often open again on Boxing Day with the cut-price ‘sales’ (not much holiday for the poor shop workers!) A visitor from another world would think that Christmas was a festival to the gods of money and shopping.
The real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. It has become a non-religious holiday! More children believe in Father Christmas than in Jesus. Christmas Day is a time for eating and drinking too much and watching television.
Many people are trying to take out the main reason why the holiday Christmas is celebrated. It’s like a party that the celebrant is left out.
Would you like that done to you?
A party is no party if the celebrant is left out of it.
But truth is…
Many people do hope for more than presents at Christmas. We want to somehow return to a time in our childhood (or some other good time in the past), when life was simpler and made more sense, before the troubles of adult life arrived. We feel sure that behind all the fun and decorations, there must somehow be a message, something more, some key to life, hope and happiness.
So can we look beyond the way Christmas is celebrated today, and find any real meaning, any message for our lives today?
The significant events that have shaped history and changed people have become mere traditions today. Well, looking closely at them, we can learn much from them. They could actually trace us back to the real meaning of Christmas.
Maybe we should look back at Christ’s birth and see what we can learn.
This is the purpose of the “Season of Hope” Christmas Blog series I will be hosting in the next few weeks of Christmas till the end of the year. Please follow this blog so that you will get fresh updates in your inbox. Make comments and glean one or two significant lessons for your life.
Till I post the new article,
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