If there’s anything I’d always look forward to while growing up, it was the beauty and the manner of preparation devoted into the planning of Christmas festivity. It was a Gansallo–family tradition.
This was the season of open-invitation for all friends and family, to casually drop by and join the feast. No invitation needed. It wasn’t about the presents (as we fondly call it), the hectic weeks ahead of shopping with my mom (reluctantly at Balogun market as she exercises her bargaining power!) or the much expected visit to Kingsway Supermarket to see “Father Christmas” (which my 8-year old son thinks is a weird title for Santa) on that very short train ride inside the departmental store, or the exaggerated leap of joy upon receiving the same boring plastic doll from Father Christmas, again!!
It wasn’t about the new emerald-green A-line cut dress, ironed and trimmed with pretty red ribbon and matching church hats, new underwear (finally from Marks & Spencer!!), colored knee-high socks and shinning patent shoe! It wasn’t about the clattering of glass cups, and oriental dishes that’s now causally making their way to the formal dining room.
The beauty of Christmas then was about sitting in my dad’s office (attached to the main house) smiling and grinning ears to ears as he brings out his favorite vintage cartridges collection and starts playing Nat King Cole’s Christmas music! The beauty of Christmas then was my mom dragging out the now dusty and stored away boxes containing the collapsed 6 feet tall Christmas tree, ornaments and flashy foiled lined trimmings, shimmering and dazzling in gold, green and red! With Nat King Cole blasting away “O Holy night…’and my dad humming to it…and as the lights are turned on, the blinking effects was an official announcement that. Yes! Its Christmas again, I get so excited and become animated as I pick up the phone to announce to my friends or boast away about the beauty of the star on our tree top… the beauty was that star! And my greatest achievement was helping my mom setting up the tree…
Well, not until a close friend invited me over to her house in Ikeja to marvel at the Christmas décor professionally done in their huge compound! It was great! But got fired up when it rained and became hazardous. But my joy was still in the beauty of the star on my tree top at home! That gave me comfort and re-assurance that I helped in re-creating the birth of Jesus.
Today, as I am blessed to have my own children who also relish their delight in the beauty of Christmas, and as I am still chasing after my 3-year old who consistently would stand in front of my tree and pull off the ornaments! I have made it a tradition to tell them the stories and the impact of the star, which even before I get a chance to finish…they’ll end it with…’seriously Mom…not again! That was donkey years ago…Hmmm.
I hope I can bring out the essence behind it so they don’t miss the beauty of christmas as they wait on Santa!
So, as we head into this busy holiday season and dance between the days of Christmas and New Year, as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.
Even as we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beauty. Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ. May we not miss the beauty.
Yours in hope, as I share one of my favorite Nat King Cole’s Christmas song…