‘I’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know…’
The lyrics to this popular Christmas song arrested and pervaded the mind of Akinfemi Martins, a Nigerian lawyer based in America with his family as his ten-year old son softly hummed to it, and he could not help but think about certain obscure Christmas traditions.
Why does Christmas have to white?
What’s wrong with a Black Christmas for a change?
For ages, Femi knew, the white man had always taken the lead, even on a festival as universal and diverse as Christmas. People anxiously desired a white Christmas with a white Santa and white snow flakes! Nobody cared about a Black Christmas (or Latino or Asian, to be fair), or even gave it consideration. He found it amusing because he believed the African man had achieved greater exploits than any Tom, Dick or Harry from Europe or the United States, and is therefore deserving more of praise and admiration in whatever manner.
Femi’s thought’s were cut short by the arrival of Boluwatife, his five year old son. His chubby figure was well accentuated by his tiny, innocent eyes. “Dad? When is Santa coming from the North Pole with his gifts? Christmas is about him, the elves and the gifts after all!”
Being a devout Christian, Femi strongly believed that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene Messiah. His Nazarene Messiah. Still in shock, he was soon joined by his beautiful wife, Toke, who held a tray of Christmas crackers.
“Can you believe what our son just said?” He addressed her, barely amused.
Toke adjusted her front hair with her free hand. “What else could have attracted me here?”
This is why I love you, Femi thought. “If Christmas is indeed about Jesus, why then do these white folks want to make it about them? I mean why is a white man- pardon me- a white old man with a funny name and a protruding belly, handing out presents to people, especially children, on Jesus’ birthday? And nobody senses a pervert vibe? No offence Santa.” Or maybe a lot of it.
Looking at the shimmering Christmas tree beside the fireplace, Femi felts his wife’s soothing palm kiss his shoulder. His eyes drifted from the illuminated masterpiece to his wife, who had joined him on the couch.
“Even with all that, we both know Jesus highly recommended sharing. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the gifts; they represent charity. Rather, my issue lies with the person handing them out. A black Santa can make my little babies happy too. I mean, the bearded dude is practically black by nature. According to these white folks, black screams deviance, so how does it become a pleasant ‘surprise’ when an old white man breaks and enters houses at night through a chimney and not the front door?”
Nostalgia suddenly rumbled within Femi. “We did this years ago in Criminal Law, didn’t we?Constructive burglary?”
Feigning indifference, Toke folded her arms comically. “Äkinfemi Martins. Forever the show-off smartass.”
“Like you haven’t schooled me multiple times.” Femi replied, his hands tenderly greeting his wife’s make-up-free face. “And I trust my African people, the anointing oil gets unleashed once Santa shows his face.”
“I can almost imagine my uncle Josiah engaged in one of his fire prayer sessions.”
Femi smiled wistfully. “God bless his soul.”
The prevous Christmas turned out to be his last. At least, everyone took solace in the fact that it was very memorable, after he succumbed to a heart attack in July.
“Even with all said and done, I also need to understand the ideology behind the disparity as to animals killed during festive periods. Rams are killed during Muslim festivals, turkeys during Thanksgiving and then the awardwinning Christmas chicken. Why do animals have to dread such joyous moments while we humans celebrate? Or could the right question be, why isn’t there a uniform sacrificial lamb for all seasons?”
Even as Toke struggled to hold back her laughter, she could not play down the possibility of her chat ending anytime soon.
Christmas, the time of the year when families gather to be jolly, merry and ho ho ho, what beautiful moments are shared. Yet, I do not understand why families strive to leave their fatherland for the white man’s land. What’s so wrong with families converging here and celebrating Christmas in Africa? Nigeria, to be precise? What’s wrong with a black Christmas in a black man’s land with his black family? Why can’t there be dreams of a black Christmas?
Written by Olamide Davis and Clinton Durueke