There are those who also see this season as a time to prey on the emotions of other people. Ladies are desperate to get married.
This is a season of celebration. Christians and non-Christians alike are all in a celebratory mood. Everybody is trying to make some form of impression, real or pretentious, either in the larger society or in the immediate family. It is not by accident that Jesus Christ was born towards the end of the year, with the globally celebrated Boxing Day coming immediately after his birth. I remember my puerile mind’s conception of Boxing Day as a day when boxers were engaged in a contest. Now I know better. There is a certain level of ignorance, direct or implicit to the meaning of Boxing Day. So Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year all converge in the same period to give the season a celebratory atmosphere.
People engage in all manner of activities to mark this period, to make it a memorable one. The frenzy, traffic gridlock and all the razzmatazz that comes with the season are inexplicable, but we all accept it as a yearly ritual. Most times, the streets are decorated, there are concerts, people are happy and for children, it is an annual carnival with a lot to eat, while adorning new clothes. Also, those established in the practice of traditional religion and the worship of alien gods use this period to offer sacrifices and sundry propitiations.
In Nigeria, Christmas means different things to different people. For the children of perdition, it is a time to make money no matter how that money is made. These people are desperate to make stupendous money, to wallow in different kinds of an orgy, to show off to their friends and the larger society that they have arrived. Some of them lay in wait for the unsuspecting ones, to maim, rob and even to kill for ritual purposes.
Children of the devil, driven by inordinate ambition and an insatiable quest for the vanishing illusions of materialism, will go to any length to make money, drive flashy cars and wear expensive jewelry. In their bid to actualise their dreams, they indulge in multiple fetish activities, they can use their relatives for money rituals, they can even subscribe to the machinations of the devil, compromise their own lives, parts of their bodies and other despicable activities all in their commitment to be seen as successful.
There are those who also see this season as a time to prey on the emotions of other people. Ladies are desperate to get married. The married ones are desperate to have children. Young men are desperate to respond to social expectations and make money. Graduates are desperate to secure employment in the next year. Politicians are ultimately desperate to win elections in the next year. These are politicians we only see or hear their names during election years, then after elections, they disappear into thin air, counting their booties and laughing at the electorates who they see as an item of use and dump value.
For some self-styled spiritualists, this is the time to become more relevant and make money. These spiritualists pretend to offer the impossible and promise the implausible. With a desperate populace who do not see anything bad in subscribing to magic, wonder and arbitrariness, they patronise these spiritual touts and part with their money and sundry material items. Some pastors are in business in this season. They organise miracle crusades, healing sessions and pretend to call down the heavens by fire and by force. Faced with a gullible populace, they manipulate various portions of the Bible, blackmail their audience into parting with money with one eye to their bank accounts.
We should all beware in this season. There is wickedness in the land, the desperate and those established in treachery are on the prowl. There is too much glitz and shine in the land and unfortunately, some people get carried away by them. Friends, fans and countrymen, be reminded that all that glitters is not gold. The genuine and those who are ideologically persuaded, those inclined to good behaviour, moral rectitude and honesty should not be moved or affected by all the rush and push of the season. In the midst of all the fanfare, death and tragedy lurk around. They are never far away from joy and merriment. Therefore, beware and be cautious.
In this season, it is easy to identify a young man or a young woman as doing well. Such quick judgment of success can put other people under pressure. Our society is indeed crazy with a value of success that is regrettably shallow and cosmetic. The young boy who has no means of income but drives the latest automobile is doing well. Our society is not interested in any kind of success that does not immediately translate to immediate wealth.
Once a youth drives an expensive car, he is doing well. With his cash, he can tame the law, tame social perception of his person and tame every social structure that may query his source of wealth. Our young, successful brother, sister, cousin or even uncle is nice as long as he throws cash around, the source is absolutely immaterial. However, his counterpart who has made a first class in the university, who has completed a Ph.D., who has made a certain discovery in medicine, science or technology, who has, through hard work and perseverance achieved a modest success is not celebrated. Such is the nebulous consciousness of our social values.
In this Christmas season, beware of your friend whom you have not seen for years and all of a sudden he emerges with inexplicable wealth. Beware of staying out late with people you think are your friends. Beware of eating and drinking in excess because you believe it is time to celebrate. Beware of going to where you do not know even if you are with people you think are your friends.
Beware of attending churches reputed to host Jesus Christ where miracles, signs, and wonders are commonplace. Beware of driving to impress people, to demonstrate how you miss a carrier in Formula 1. Beware how you blame yourself for not being a success because you have seen your friends revel in pyrrhic success. For ladies, beware not to blame yourself for not getting married when all your friends are married. Many things happen behind the scene which you do not know. Many ladies do sordid things to get married, so do not bother. Beware when politicians come with their sugar-coated tongues to convince you for their support and votes. Although they may offer money now, which can solve the immediate problems, a mortgaged future is a great disservice to the conscience. Christmas will come and go and many more Christmas will come too. Those who are not happy this Christmas season may be happy next Christmas and there are many in this Christmas who are happy now but will certainly not be happy next Christmas. It is important therefore that we celebrate in moderation so that we can all embrace the New Year with joy.
Adiele, Department of English, University of Lagos via [email protected]