Christmas Jollof Rice: The Reality of Christmas in the Believer’s Heart – Chukwuemeka Charles Asiegbu

Christmas Jollof Rice:

christmas jollof rice

Christmas jollof rice is one of the dishes that seal the celebration of Christmas among the children in my community. What makes Christmas jollof rice taste very special is that it is spiced with cooked chicken stock.  The chicken parts on top of Christmas jollof rice becomes the magnet that draws one’s eye and glues it there. Since my childhood, I have been opportune to taste Christmas jollof rice from other kitchens.

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The honest truth is that Christmas jollof rice cooked by my mother has always been the best. This is not some form of alchemy or hoopla on my mother but the reality. Back peddling a few months before Christmas, a hen in our house breed new chickens. My mother called me and said that I should make sure they are well secured and tamed. I quizzed my mother to ascertain the reason behind her statement and she quipped that the chickens are for Christmas. Her statement immediately sends a message to my medullar oblongata and redirects my sense of reasoning towards Christmas jollof rice.

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Instantly, I start to salivate because the gullet in my throat recalls the Christmas jollof rice I ate last. From that day forward I make sure that those chickens nothing happen to them.  And I watch them grow into full cocks and hens because for sure they are going to brandish my Christmas jollof rice.

Christmas Returnees:

Today is 24th December and suddenly the atmospheric condition of my community just changed. The effects and influences of Christmas have just penetrated my community. Many citizens of my community from all walks of life living in abroad are trooping in like weaver-birds. They are coming in with different brands of cars both new and second handed types. The young ones are not left out in this scene; also they are coming in with different brands of power bikes.

The noise and the movement of these vehicles brought life to the sleeping dust and leafs of the shrub trees couldn’t stop waving hands. Anyone who knows my community knows that if one wants to enjoy a kind of serenity and tranquility my community is the place to be. However, Christmas period changes this nature and makes my community a temporary urban city that has little or no financial benefit. Standing there at the entrance of the road leading to our compound and brooding about the situation, a vehicle pulled by the side. I gaze to know who that is.

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And suddenly I notice the shape of a woman’s head and there we have it, auntie Nkee dropped from the vehicle. Her arrival made me feel like a partaker in the activities going on in my community. This is because while at the entrance of our compound I could hear some brisk of noise from different families. The noise signifies the arrival of a member of their family. The arrival of family members during Christmas period sparks a level of joy that induces oneness in the family. And mostly, the arrival of a family member ignites the hope for the fulfillment of Christmas gifts expectation. 

Expectation Of Christmas Gifts:

christmas jollof rice

As we unload her baggage from the vehicle, I know surely that in one of the bags are my Christmas cloths. And I can’t wait to see and handle them.  Also, by privy I know as well that my mother bought some cloths for me. However, as usual she will like to make it a surprise. Mother was glad to see Auntie Nkee. Next we are expecting my uncle to come though one cannot be sure of his coming.  Nevertheless, I will like to see my uncle because it will make our house bubble at least with ‘nice activities’.

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His presence will draw many visitors and what that means is better chances of getting Christmas gifts. However, auntie Nkee is here and her presence rekindles my curiosity in the Christmas jollof rice. Auntie Nkee had a long conversation with my mother; I guess it has something to do with her marriage. I pray it does work out for her; and again that would mean marriage celebration in our house this Christmas period. The overt thing is that there will be no marriage celebration during Christmas without Christmas jollof rice.

Their conservation took them till late in the evening and thereafter we are preparing for Christmas Eve. After dinner we are on our way to the Christmas Eve and the children lined up many programs.

Christmas Eve Service:

Many Christmas returnees were present to witness the evening service and children’s programs. I participated in the drama, I played the role of Joseph and Mary was played my Nneka. After the drama, many people started teasing me and by calling me Joseph. I overheard them saying I and Nneka could make a good couple. A little before midnight, the service is over and we are on our way home. Auntie Nkee expressed her surprise at my performance and encourages me to continue in the things of God.

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Her encouragement boosts my morals in what I do in the Church. However, at home we didn’t have time to talk about anything again except to sleep. As early as 5.00 am my mother and auntie Nkee are awake and they are ready for the business of the day. And it is nothing but the preparation of the Christmas jollof rice. And before 7.00 am they are done and we have to start preparing for Christmas service. Nevertheless, I could feel the aroma of the Christmas jollof rice taking over the atmosphere of our house. I couldn’t resist the urge, but I cannot help it because the routine and method is always after the service.

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Christmas Jollof Rice Has No Value:

As we get to the Church, the air space of our church has changed. Everyone is looking very bright. The cloth Auntie Nkee bought for me is classic, I sense it that so many of my mates are envious. They wish to be in my shoes because I look very well-dressed. The Church has taken a new look it is well decorated with flowers and designs.

We sang several Christmas songs and thereafter, our Vicar mounts the pulpit. In his sermon, he expressed the need for people to have personal knowledge of Christ. He said that is a frivolous exercise if people engage themselves in the celebration of someone who they do not know. This statement drew me away from the fantasy I was enjoying over the way and manner I will eat my Christmas jollof rice.

It startles me; soon I realize that many who are in the service do not have a personal knowledge of who Christ is. Many questions keep on bubbling in my heart though I do not have an answer to them. They are elusive to me because there is no one to elucidate them to me. Suddenly, I lost interest in the Christmas jollof rice because to me Kensi, at this point what matters is my relationship with Christ.

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