• Friday, June 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

The joys, blues and meaning of Christmas

Nigerian lawmakers preach peace, love at Christmas

Tomorrow, December 25 is Christmas Day. It is that time of the year again. The air is crisp: cool. This is more so in the very early morning. You do not want to leave your bed. You are pinned down to that vast bed, pinning for more sleep. Bliss.

Then the Christmas carols. As old as one may be, they remain evergreen. And talking of age, the mind goes back to those yesteryears; and memories of Christmas continue to flood in. A time for special clothes and exotic meals.

Christmas! Later on, those treats transform into something else, gifts. Yes, the exchange of gifts. Here, reciprocity appears to be the watch-word. Still, it is a time of love – hence the gifts. But sometimes, the gifting can be strategic. It may be a way of repaying favours that could not be starkly done. The gifting can also have some strategic import.

For this writer, this particular Christmas season has turned out to be a revelation of sorts. For the past five years, one has been inundated with gifts in the light of my privileged space in public life. Gifts galore.

Luckily and while it lasted, I did not lose my sense of balance. I was well aware that after my stint in office, these gifts would no longer flow. And this is precisely what has happened this year. For this writer, the situation has been very absolute.

So absolute that till date, not a single Christmas hamper has been received, very much unlike in the previous years. Life happens. So if you, dear reader, are currently in a position of authority, and the gifts are flowing in, do not be giddy.

Such times, I assure you will not last. So brace up yourself for a time when you will no longer be in power or authority. Then and only then, will you appreciate that being in power is different from being out in the cold.

For some people, however, they are forever in the cold. For the have-nots and the poor, Christmas almost means nothing. This is more so in these times when a lot of our people have been pushed further down the poverty hole. For such people, they are merely helpless by-standers to the usual hubbub and stampede of Christmas.

For let us face it, Christmas in contemporary times is about money, about spending. And when you lack the wherewithal, God help you. For you are nothing but an observer to the various shades of merriment that hall-mark Christmas.

This was why, a long time ago, a particular artiste, asked the searing and probing question: Do they know it’s Christmas? Without meaning to insult anyone, the question is in reality a coded insult. This is because these hapless people really know that it is Christmas. How could they have missed out on the carols and the various journeys out of the city to the various villages?

So they do know that it is Christmas. But unfortunately, they cannot do anything about it. In reality, they are helpless. And such helplessness has been spawned by their relative lack.

What is perhaps most disturbing is that amid all the drama, spending, buying, selling, gifting which characterise the season; it is very easy to miss out on the Reason for the Season – which is our Lord Jesus Christ. The story itself appears simple enough.

In reality, however, it is the key to life. The redemptive possibilities are such that his birth and life have continued to give meaning to our respective lives.

For he came to save sinners, such that they may be reunited with the God-Head. And what is being said here defies selectivity. For the bible says, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For me personally, aspects of His life continue to astound. The depths, the wisdom, insight and more, show that he was indeed part of the Divine.

For instance, when they wanted to trap him about his loyalty to the earthly king, his insightful reply was: give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and give unto God what is God’s – end of story. How about his admonitions that we should love our enemies. How So? But then, that is Christ for you.

Then, that memorable moment when they came for him, one of his disciples cut off the ears of one of his adversaries. Rather than applaud, as all of us would have done, he picked up the ear and stuck it back. Can you beat that!

And then his encounter with Peter. As his life tailed off, Peter promised to follow him to the very end. But since he had already seen the future, he told Peter, the rhetorical militant that: before the cock shall crow twice, you will betray me thrice.

And this was precisely what happened. Or take the case of Thomas, who in my opinion was the most intellectual of his disciples. For people of that class had to subject everything to the test. And when told that the Lord had risen, he was in a way that was consistent with the intellectual tradition, contended that: until he touched the palms and sides of Christ which had been pierced with weapons, he would not believe.

Ultimately, he met Christ who was not present when Thomas indulged in these sceptical effusions. When they met, Thomas was overwhelmed when Christ purposely invited him to come and feel his palms and other relevant parts. Whereupon, he broke down saying—- My Lord and my Master!

What much of the immediate foregoing clearly demonstrates is that there is very little relationship between the various soirees, parties, and marketization that hallmark the contemporary celebration of Christmas. This is why as you tuck in that Xmas turkey; let us spare some thought for the real essence and meaning of the Season: Jesus Christ and Lord and as we have seen –The Incomparable!