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The Night Before Christmas: An African Christmas Story (standard:Inspirational stories, 1378 words)
Author: osofoaddoAdded: Dec 23 2010Views/Reads: 3527/2059Story 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 

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