No More Dress for Christmas!

I treasure my childhood memories of Christmas celebrations in my family, church and the village. The nostalgic images of new clothes; bread (bofulo/vovulo) for breakfast, chapati and other delicacies; family reunion; heavy rains that relieved us from going to the springs. In my local church, Christmas festivities centered on the children and youth who made elaborate presentations on Christ’s nativity story.  The special Christmas hymns we sang still ring in my heart. I looked forward to the annual treats of sweets, biscuits and special awards for perfect attendance and scripture memory. The village vibrated with music, dancing, laughter and excesses of all kinds. The delectable aroma of rear foods scented the whole village. The down-and-out fed from the generosity of jubilant neighbors.

For all my childhood years Christmas 1975 is most memorable to me.  At the onset of adolescence I had begun to experience and yield to peer pressure and identity crisis.   I wanted to dress in the latest fashions and look like the girls of my age.  Little did I know I had been the envy of the same peers because I dressed in unique outfits custom-made by my mother- a highly skilled designer and seamstress?

This Christmas season the trending attire for my age-group was the half-tight made from crimplene fabrics in contrasting colours. I even knew the price, 35 Kenyan shillings to be precise.  Mother had already announced to the whole family “this season’s spending priorities are New Year’s back to school preparations and a family income generating project.”  That meant NO NEW CHRISTMAS CLOTHES.  One week to Christmas, I was still negotiating with mother.  She firmly turned loving but blind eyes and deaf ears to my tears and pleas for only thirty five shillings.  However I got a new set of school uniform which I could have traded for my desired half-tight dress.

On Christmas Eve, mother brought home the dream hybrid cow with its calf. For Christmas we would have milk from our own cow, and sell some.  In seasons to come we would have enough manure for the farm instead of buying. In subsequent years, we would sell the offspring of this cow to pay fees or make further investment.  In January 1976 I walked into standard four classroom in a new skirt and blouse that distinguished me from the lower primary girls who wore dresses.

Since that year 1975, my perception of Christmas changed permanently.   I developed a thick skin against the festive peer pressure.  I realized that the joy of Christmas celebration was not pegged on new clothes or the food but on the eternal priceless free gift of God – Jesus Christ.  Mum’s gift of a cow brought us flowing benefits for years.  God’s gift given on the first Christmas gives us eternal life and overflowing blessings.  Christ Jesus is more to me than a new dress, chapati, or tastiest   goodies of life.

Jesus Christ is my eternal treasured Christmas gift.

What is your desired gift this Christmas?

From Mwikali Wambua (AKA Sela Ndivo)