|The Night Before Christmas: An African Christmas Story (standard:Inspirational stories, 1378 words)|
|Author: osofoaddo||Added: Dec 23 2010||Views/Reads: 2405/1225||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A miracle at a devastated African Village on Christmas Eve|
The Night Before Christmas:An African Christmas Story. By Rev Peter Addo It was the night before Christmas and I was very sad because my family life had been severely disrupted and I was sure that Christmas would never come. There was none of the usual joy and anticipation that I always felt during the Christmas season. I was eight years old but in the past few months I had grown a great deal. Before this year, I thought Christmas in my village came with many things. Christmas had always been for me one of the joyous religious festivals. It was the time for beautiful Christmas music on the streets, on radio, television, and every where. Christmas had always been a religious celebration and the church started preparing way back in November. We really felt that we were preparing for the birth of the baby Jesus. Christmas was the time when relatives and friends visited each other so there were always people traveling and visiting with great joy from all the different tribes. I always thought that was all Christmas was. Oh, how I wished I had some of the traditional food consumed at the Christmas Eve dinner and the Christmas Day dinner, I knew I could not taste the rice, chicken, goat, lamb, and fruits of various kinds. The houses were always decorated with beautiful paper ornaments. The children and all the young people loved to make and decorate their homes and schools with colorful crepe paper. All of us looked forward to the Christmas Eve Service at our church. After the service there would be a joyous possession through the streets. Everyone would be in a gala mood with local musicians in a Mardi Gras mood. Then on Christmas Day we all went back to church to read the scriptures and sing carols to remind us of the meaning of the blessed birth of the baby Jesus. We always thought that these were the things that meant Christmas. After the Christmas service young people received gifts of special chocolate, special cookies, and special crackers. Young people were told that the gifts come from Father Christmas, and this always meant Christmas for us. They also received new clothes and perhaps new pairs of shoes. Meanwhile throughout the celebration, everyone was greeted with the special greeting word, "Afishapa" meaning Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Oh how I wish that those memories were real tonight in order to bring us Christmas. However, this Christmas Eve things were different and I knew Christmas would never come. Every one was sad and desperate because of what happened last April when the so-called Army of Liberation attacked our village and took all the young boys and girls away. Families were separated and some were murdered. We were forced to march and work for many miles without food. We were often hungry and we were given very little food.. There was very little food. The soldiers burned everything in our village and during our forced march we lost all sense of time and place. Miraculously we were able to get away from the soldiers during one rainy night. After several weeks in the tropical forest we made our way back to our burned out village. Most of us were sick, exhausted, and depressed. Most of the members of our families were no where to be found. We had no idea what day or time it was. This was the situation until my sick grandmother noticed the reddish and yellow flower we call, "Fire on the Mountain," blooming in the middle of the marketplace where the tree had stood for generations and had bloomed for generations at Christmas time. For some reason it had survived the fire that had engulfed the marketplace. I remembered how the nectar from this beautiful flower had always attracted insects making them drowsy enough to fall to the ground to become food for crows and lizards. We were surprised that the fire the soldiers started to burn the marketplace and the village did not destroy the "Fire on the Mountain" tree. What a miracle it was. Grandmother told us that it was almost Christmas because the flower was blooming. As far as she could remember this only occurred at Christmas time. My spirits were lifted perhaps for a few minutes as I saw the flower. Soon I became sad again. How could Christmas come without my parents and my village? How could this be Christmas time when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, because since April we have not known any peace, only war and suffering. How could we celebrate as grandmother instructed us to do before she died. Those were the last words she spoke before she died last night. As I continued to think about past joyous Christmases and the present suffering, we heard the horn of a car and not just one horn but several cars approaching our village. At first we thought they were cars full of men with machine guns so we hid in the forest. To our Click here to read the rest of this story (49 more lines)
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