The gift that keeps on giving

IMG_00000966 “How did I even get here? …running around thinking of the right gift to buy for colleagues at work, accepting invitations for Christmas parties most of which I will not attend and getting the house ready for families and in-laws that make you blood boil-over…” moaned a colleague of mine who I have nicknamed ‘Mama Africa’. She is one of those rear beings you come across in your lifetime who, in their subtle way, make an impact in your life just by being themselves and totally oblivious to their effect on people. Whenever I see her, all I can think of is Home…and going to her house made matters worse (I think)… it was as if I was being transported from the UK to a very warm and cozy flat in Zimbabwe right from her doorstep. In spite of her moaning, Mama Africa still invited myself and some colleagues at work for Christmas lunch at her house. As we settled down to devour are chosen rations, Mama Africa kept us entertained by recounting her childhood memories of Christmas as a little girl growing up in Zimbabwe. She said Christmas to her then meant wearing her new gown that was bought by her mother at the local market one month before Christmas. For her,  the most interesting part of Christmas day was showing off her newly acquired piece of outfit to the neighbours and friends alike. In the afternoon, her mother would make chicken stew (it  had to be chicken) because eating chicken on Christmas day brought a form of ‘ social status’ with it. This was how Christmas day was celebrated in her household and in order to draw their neighbour’s attention to this social status, they would wave the bone or their half-eaten chicken drumsticks in the air or outside their compound for all to see. Today, she thinks Christmas should be celebrated everyday and not once in a calendar year. She thinks there is too many pomp and pageantry in the festive season that takes people’s minds of what the true essence of Christmas is.1461810_804735739553688_35517121_n This resonated with me at a deeper level than I thought at the time and it kept me reflecting on what Christmas means to me as an adult and a Christian. I have on countless occasion tried to make sense of what Christmas means to me as a person rather than how I should celebrate it. Sometimes, days or weeks before Christmas, I find myself not in the mood for celebration but defining what it means to me as a person is what often  lifts up my spirit.  It is amazing to witness  how generous individuals can be during this period  and the giving of gifts to friends and loved ones does contribute to making this time of the year very special  indeed.

But aside from these generosity, Christmas to me now means more than the sharing of gifts, or attending countless Christmas lunches or dinners. To me, it brings to my remembrance that  I have received the greatest gift of all  through the Birth of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour. For me, He is the gift that keeps on giving, keeps on forgiving and keeps on loving. He has become my Counsellor,  my Peace, my Faith, my Hope and my Joy at this time of the year  and every single day.  This priceless gift can can be summed up in a single word: Immanuel, God with us! I pray that in the midst of all the activities and merriment that characterises this time of the year that we, as Christians, remember that God has given us the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. For me, He is the gift that keeps on giving all year round. 

Categories: Spirituality

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