FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaFriday, December 25, 2015
amobipchuks@yahoo.com


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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND FRUITFUL NEW YEAR!

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mad man accidentally walked into a club of wealthy men and women celebrating Christmas by whining and dining as if tomorrow does not exist. This group of about thirty persons slaughtered a bouncing adult cow (BAC) and used it as meat in different forms. They provided pepper soup, suya, dry meat and grinded meat for those who are toothless. Pounded yam and egusi soup filled with different seizes of the cow meat were in abundance. Fried rice, white rice and jollof rice were lined up at one corner. Different brands of wine, beer, malt, mineral and fruit juice coloured the tables. The mad man was asked what he would like to eat and drink. He smiled and requested to be served a quantity of each of the menu. He was also served with a bottle of wine, beer, malt, mineral and fruit juice. After eating and drinking to the point of no return, he jumped up like a pregnant woman in her ninth month and shouted, "If this is Christmas, then let's have it every day!" He polluted the air with heavy bombardment and went away laughing madly.

For many, merry Christmas means to be intoxicated with merriment. When I was growing up, the first vocabulary I learnt was Christmas. I was told that our Saviour Jesus Christ was born on that day. However my major preoccupation was the euphoria the solemnity carried. As soon as the time for the celebration approached, my dad took me and my siblings to the market to buy woolen material for sewing 'up and down' for us the boys and light clothing materials for the girls. Then artificial plastic watches and plastic eye-glasses were bought for us. If no new clothes were bought for us, then instead of celebrating Christmas, we celebrated 'Sadmas.'

Apart from clothing, our stomach was the second aspect of our attention. We ate rice and stew as much as we wanted. If a fowl was slaughtered, we the children were given the legs, the wings and the head. Nowadays children abhor these chicken parts. Instead they demand the laps and other juicy parts. Some time ago, I gave a boy of four years the chicken head. He frowned at me and threw it angrily back at me with a cause. I raised my hand to slap him mercilessly but he sneaked away under my two legs. The greatest mistake our mum can do on Christmas day is to cook yam for us. She must go to confession at the Pope's hand to receive forgiveness. Christmas rice and meat have extra-ordinary aroma. If it is possible, I would like to go back to infancy and begin to grow a second time as I await the second coming of Jesus Christ. Before I do that, I put my grey hairs and my beards on sale. Make an offer!

If Christ were to come to a second time among us, he would shed tears for what many people do at Christmas. As soon as soon the ember month dawns, the prices of essential commodities rise indiscriminately. Marketers begin to hoard fuel to make gains at Christmas. The little they display, they sell at exorbitant prices. Transporters hike fares to the detriment of the poor among us. Last year at Christmas, a poor man living at Ibadan tried all he could to raise transport fare to go home and celebrate Christmas with his wretched family living at home, but all to no avail. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. He carried his tattered bag and trekked from Ibadan to Benin for three days. From there he boarded a tipper to reach his home at the bank of the River Niger. I recommend to the Federal Government to search for this poor man to be trained for the Olympic Games. He is poor but energetic.

Thank God for Christmas, otherwise many would have forgotten their homes. There was a man who left home for Northern Nigeria at the age of 12. When his parents died one after the other, he did not attend their burials. Due to the Boko Haram Insurgency, he was forced to go home for Christmas last two years. He knew the name of his town in the East. When he reached the town, he was unable to trace his home. Hence he had no choice than to be auctioned at their town's market. He was thus bought by the highest bidder. That was how he settled down in his town. He lost his own father's share of inheritance. Boko Haram chased him home and Christmas gave him a shelter. There is no place better than the home.

Many people see the Christmas period as beehive of activities. As the Christmas Bell is ringing, they fail to answer the heavenly invitation to come and adore the Lord. Instead, one's calendar is filled with social activities like payment of bride prize, traditional marriages, wedding receptions, condolence visits, kindred meetings, football matches, wrestling, etc. Some people rob Peter to pay Paul in the name of preparing for Christmas.

Christmas should be a time of sober reflection. Am I in union with God and man? What type of life am I living? Christ was born that I may be saved. What am I doing to accomplish this task? When Christ was born, the Angels sang "Glory be to God in the highest and on earth peace to men who are God's friend." Am I friend or foe of God and my neighbor? This Christmas may be the last for some of us. Do you know that many of us who celebrated Christmas last year are now dead? Many have been buried while some are lying in the mortuary waiting for interment. Therefore we must celebrate this Christmas with necessary decorum and devotion. Some youths attend Christmas midnight Mass only to foment trouble. They indiscriminately throw firearms right inside the church. It was on this solemn night that a young man was caught raping an innocent girl in the church premises. When he was accosted, he blamed the devil for the unholy act. I am sorry for the devil for the allegations we impose on him at the least provocation.

As we are celebrating Christmas, we are looking forward to usher in the New Year. We must jettison the excess luggage we are carrying so that we travel light into the New Year. Every year we make New Year Resolutions. How far have we been faithful to those resolutions? We appeal to the people concerned not to destroy our hard earned tarred roads with the burning of tyres in the name of chasing away the old year and ushering in the New Year. A certain man normally sits down on a stool from 11p.m on the night of 31st December to stay awake, so that death does not catch him if he goes to bed. What a childish act! Death has not decided to visit him.

We look forward in 2016 the actualization of the Change agenda of the APC-led Government. The fuel scarcity is biting hard on the citizens. Millions of our young graduates are still roaming about seeking for non-existent jobs. Many of the Federal roads especially here in the Eastern Nigeria are in worst condition. Hence accidents claim the lives of innocent travelers. There is still palpable fear of the unknown here and there, such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, evil sects. There is anger in the land. I pray that our present leaders both on the Federal and State levels may sit up in 2016, so that Nigerians may reap the real dividends of Democracy. I wish all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year. In God we trust!

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