Speedily pulling my car into the post office parking lot, I jumped out of my car and raced into the building clutching a bulky envelope to my chest like my life depended on it.
"Ma'm we are closed. We closed at noon", the post office attendant said looking away in a stereotypical "post office worker" attitude.
Deciding to pretend not to hear what he called me, I looked at my watch. It was 12.05pm.
I softened my face into a pleading smile and said "please, just one package."
"No ma'm we already closed. I already let one person in a minute ago" he replied, this time sternly.
*Oh No he didn't just call me ma'm again.* I was about to get upset and give up sending my last christmas gift out when I suddenly thought to try an idea sparked by the numerous christmas movies I had seen.
"Please....in the spirit of Christmas", I said with a big smile.
His face immediately softened.
"Okay c'mon". He said, defeatedly.
It works! 'The spirit of Christmas' is still alive. The angry postman stretched a bit to help me in the spirit of Christmas. By accommodating me at my late hour, he gave me a gift "in the spirit of Christmas".
Family. Friends. Food. Weddings. Jesus' birthday. Anniversaries. Parties. Music. Church plays. Money. a New outfit. Soccer Games. Love. Family again.
Those words come to mind when I think about Christmas growing up in Nigeria. Those contributed to the spirit of Christmas. It was a special time. People came together from all over to be together, to celebrate and to enjoy each other's company. The best memory I have of Christmas as a child is spending it in my father's village in Nigeria when my cousins and I would dress up in our new Christmas outfits just to walk a mile to the soccer field to watch the local teams from the nearby villages play. We would hound all our uncles and aunties to "gba anyi Christmas". This meant to give us money, just because it was Christmas....Every older person gave us money "in the spirit of Christmas". We would then count all our money on the 31st to see who collected the most. I remember one christmas when I had collected N400 (four hundred naira), which is now equivalent to only about $3. But mehnnn, did I think I was rich.
We would hang up christmas cards and decorations around the house. We'd put together christmas songs and dances and perform together for our parents and grandmother. We'd visit family and friends where we'd get to eat, drink a lot of mineral (soda) and meet second and third cousins who lived abroad. We'd hang outside in the compound till late at night eating suya (openly grilled meat in special sauce) and playing WHOT cards. We'd use a good amount of our money to buy knock-outs (fireworks) and play with them in the compound. Thinking about it now, those were probably dangerous for us to be playing with...hehe but those were the little things that made my childhood amazing. I looked forward to Christmas every year.
A whole lot has changed since then....both in my world and the people who live in it.
But one thing hasn't changed....the true "spirit of Christmas"...In fact, no matter how many people or cultures choose to ignore it or replace with commercialism, it will never change- Jesus, The reason for the season IS the spirit of Christmas. Christmas marks the day He was born...and for Christian's everywhere, it is the beginning of salvation. It is OUR genesis because without this day, we'd still be lost and hopeless.
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. ~Eric Sevareid
I say that to inspire you to take a moment in the midst of your celebrations, the food, the family, the gifts and the everything else eventful about Christmas, to dwell on the "spirit of Christmas"...to say a prayer appreciating the center of this holiday...Jesus and his birth....To take a moment to thank God for the gift of Jesus...the greatest gift of alll...to say "Happy Birthday Jesus". I hope as you open your presents today that you will open your hearts in the same way to meditate on the implications of this day in your life.
No matter what season you're in your life today, my prayer for you is that as you live the true spirit of Christmas, you'd continue to create memories worth celebrating and seasons worth living.
Love came down at Christmas,Love all lovely, Love Divine;Love was born at Christmas;Star and angels gave the sign.~Christina Rossetti
To all NwaVic readers out there, like Jose Feliciano sang many years, I wanne wish you a merry christmas from the bottom of my heart :-)