Anyone for Christmas Chestnuts?

by Taju Tijani

I am a converted Christian. An unashamed, tried and tested thoroughbred born again who knows his Christ from Mohammed, Yahweh from Yar’Adua, Jeremiah from Jimoh, Paul from Paraga, Moses from Musiliu, the Day of Pentecost from Lailat-ul-Quadr and can spot the difference between a Pentecostal curé and a Sango diviner at a few meters.

I believe passionately that Jesus Christ is the impassioned Son of God who abdicated all his privileged divinity and made himself fully man in order to suffer many shocks of earth life. Were he to be born a Nigerian, he would have had a preferment for my culinary delicacy of amala, ewedu, gbegiri and assorted meat. In flesh he ate food, expelled demons, prayed, preached, orated, evangelized, tempted, pontificated, fasted, traveled, ducked and dived, suffered, slept, wept and laid down the foundation of the Way through uncompromising adherence to righteous and holy predisposition. He was captured, beaten, battered, gored and crucified. Christ’ shinning moment was his ability to bear all with divine dignity and through the brevity of his death offered us opportunity of salvation and promise of eternal brotherhood.

On Friday we shall celebrate the birth of Christ in his fullest human dimension the world over. This week, Matthew 1 verse 1-25 will make another comeback on the spiritual Broadway for homiletic popularity among pastors and the laity. The birth of Christ, our God, therefore represented the epiphanic symbol of the festive spirit of the time which was spiritually captured in the migration of the wise men, who, on seeing the Child with Mary His mother fell down and worshipped Him. As parting gift, gold, frankincense and myrrh were given as treasure from the East.

The Bible made a further exposition in Matthew chapter 2 verse 10 by affirming that ‘when they (wisemen) saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.’ The festive joy of his birth has been expunged and in its place a wicked replacement in the form of old chestnuts are the order of the day. This Sunday, be prepared to be treated to sunning chestnuts like, ‘Christmas is a time to consider the plight of the poor.’ The logic of such statement is wickedly loaded. The pastor is suggesting and handing us liberty to be cruel and vicious between January –November. Is that it?

‘Christmas is a time for forgiveness’. We should be nasty, vindictive and monstrously beastly for the rest of the New Year? Abi? ‘Christmas is a time for peace on earth and goodwill toward all men.’ So from January is well and right to harbour hatred, bitterness and rage against mankind until the next Christmas when we once again distribute goodwill to all? The importation of chestnuts to Christmas is the behaviour of the life of man as a quester, a wayfarer to invoke the spirit of the soulish goodness as personified in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Shorn of its grisly spiritual sentiment, the celebration of Xmas has been an occasion to pamper our kids with all things merry: Xmas dress, shoes, bags, watches, books, DVDs, toys, Computer games and bicycles.

In reminiscence, the wise men equally bought gifts for the Child-Christ to underscore the point that freeloading our kids with gifts at Xmas was the original purpose of the festive season. St Anns and St Georges shopping malls in Harrow, London are now awashed with Xmas buntings of colourful decorations. Merry shoppers are milling around looking for Xmas bargain to make for a really, merry Xmas. I have decided to merry my Xmas with a bowl of merry amala, ewedu and gbegiri in the merry surrounding of Omi Adio in merry Ibadan.

My wife and children are counting the second for my change of heart in my determination to merry my Xmas in rural Nigeria. This time, its no shaking! Xmas must be merrily enjoyed in Nigeria after 20 years of celebrating it in the UK. My gold, frankincense and myrrh are all gift-wrapped for my 7 year-old daughter. Is anybody going to London? From this columnist, its toast to Xmas and to life!

Postscript: This article was meant for publication last Monday.

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