Ben Osawe is Tearfund’s Advocacy Manager in Nigeria, part of the West Africa cluster
‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ … while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it … If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.’ (1 Corinthians 12:12,24,26)
Nigeria is a land of colours, of dance, and of celebrations. Christmas in Nigeria can best be described with the same words, which derive from our cultures and heritage. All are rooted in an understanding of community which is seen as our interconnectedness and harmony.
Christmas is a celebration for the individual, the family and the community. The colours at Christmas are evidenced in the beauty of the variety of outfits worn by children and adults – and which are made especially for the occasion and called Christmas dress. Celebrations range from church worship services to cultural festivals and visits to loved ones marked with specially prepared meals – with jollof rice and pounded yam being the most popular indigenous dishes served to visitors.
These experiences at Christmas contribute to community resilience as individuals hear and experience, from other individuals and communities, the trials and triumphs of others, which strengthen and encourage them as they trust God to see another Christmas in the coming year.