Christmas Story by Peter E. Adotey Addo
It was the night before Christmas in Ghana 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 Ghanaian 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, on television and everywhere.
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 ethnic groups. I always
thought that was what Christmas was all about. Oh, how I wished I had some
of the traditional food consumed at the Christmas Eve dinner and the
Christmas Day dinner. I remembered the taste of 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, "Afishapa," the Akan word
meaning "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." Oh how I wish that those
memories were real tonight in order to bring us Christmas.
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 walk for many miles without food. We were often hungry
and we were given 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 nowhere 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 that the soldiers had
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 surprise they were not soldiers and they did not have
guns. They were just ordinary travelers. It seemed the bridge over the river
near our village had been destroyed last April as the soldiers left our
village. Since it was almost dusk and there were rumors that there were land
mines on the roads, they did not want to take any chances. Their detour had
led them straight to our village.
When they saw us they were shocked and
horrified at the suffering and the devastation all around us. Many of these
travelers began to cry. They confirmed that tonight was really Christmas
Eve. All of them were on their way to their villages to celebrate Christmas
with family and friends. Now circumstances had brought them to our village
at this time on this night before Christmas. They shared the little food
they had with us. They even helped us to build a fire in the center of the
marketplace to keep us warm. In the middle of all this my oldest sister
became ill and could not stand up. A short time after we returned to our
village my grandmother told me that my oldest sister was expecting a baby.
My sister had been in a state of shock and speechless since we all escaped
from the soldiers.
I was so afraid for my sister because we did not have
any medical supplies and we were not near a hospital. Some of the travelers
and the villagers removed their shirts and clothes to make a bed for my
sister to lie near the fire we had made. On that fateful night my sister
gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. This called for a celebration, war or no
war. Africans have to dance and we celebrated until the rooster crowed at 6
a.m. We sang Christmas songs. Every one sang in his or her own language. For
the first time all the pain and agony of the past few months went away. When
morning finally came my sister was asked, "What are you going to name the
baby?" Would you believe for the first time since our village was burned and
all the young girls and boys were taken away, she spoke. She said, "His name
is 'Gye Nyame', which means 'Except God I fear none.'"
And so we
celebrated Christmas that night. Christmas really did come to our village
that night, but it did not come in the cars or with the travelers. It came
in the birth of my nephew in the midst of our suffering. We saw hope in what
this little child could do. This birth turned out to be the universal story
of how bad things turned into universal hope, the hope we found in the Baby
Jesus. A miracle occurred that night before Christmas and all of a sudden I
knew we were not alone any more. Now I knew there was hope and I had learned
that Christmas comes in spite of all circumstances. Christmas is always
within us all. Christmas came even to our Ghanaian village that night.
By Peter E. Adotey Addo
Christmas is for
Love - Classic Tale
'Christmas is for love' is a short story that Will and Guy have found on the
internet and we
would like to share it with you, the author remains unknown. It is not funny but is worth reading when considering what the Christmas message means to each of us as individuals.
Christmas is for
love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly covered packages. But, mostly Christmas is for love. I had not believed this
until a small elfin like pupil with wide innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.
Matthew was a 10 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter, middle aged
woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister's son. She never failed to remind young Matthew, if it hadn't been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still,
with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.
I had not noticed Matthew particularly until he began staying after class each day [at the risk of arousing his aunt's
anger so I learned later] to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Matthew spoke
mostly of his mother. Though he was quite young when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman who always spent time with him.
As Christmas drew near however, Matthew failed to
stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked him why
he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large brown eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, 'Did you really miss me?'
I explained how he had been my best helper,
'I was making you
a surprise,' he whispered confidentially. 'It's for Christmas.' With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn't stay after school any more after that.
Finally came the last
school day before Christmas. Matthew crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. 'I have your present,' he said timidly when I looked
up. 'I hope
you like it.' He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.
'It's beautiful, Matthew. Is there something in it?' I asked opening the top to look
inside. 'Oh you
can't see what's in it,' he replied, 'and you can't touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights and safe when you're all alone.'
I gazed into the empty box. 'What is it, Matthew' I asked gently, 'that will make me feel so good?'
'It's love,' he whispered softly, 'and mother always said it's best when you give it away.' He
turned and quietly left the room.
So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile when inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain
to them there is love in it.
Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth, song, and for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.
An Inspiring Parable At
Christmas: It Is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive*
Corinne was a little girl who was all alone in the world. Her father and
mother were both dead. Corinne was so poor that she no longer had a room to
live in; neither did she have a bed to sleep in. All Corinne owned were the
clothes that she was wearing. As regards food, she had nothing more to eat
than a small piece of bread that someone had given her.
Corinne was forsaken by all the world but hoped that God would find a way
to help her.
One day she left her home village. Corinne hadn't walked
very far when she saw an old man sitting by the wayside. 'Oh, my dear child,
give me something to eat. I'm so hungry,' he murmured to her. Corinne,
without hesitation, gave him her piece of bread.
When she had gone a little further and the church spire of her village
could no longer be seen, she came upon ayoung child. He only had a shirt on
and begged, 'Could you give me something to cover my head? I'm so terribly
cold.' Corinne, taking pity on the child took off her bonnet and gave it to
Further along the road Corinne observed another child by the woods. She
only wore a vest and was trembling with cold. She pleaded, 'Dear girl, I'm
so terribly cold without a skirt. Haven't you a little skirt for me?'
Corinne, herself, only had her vest and skirt but without hesitating she
took off her skirt and presented it to the freezing child and walked on.
Meanwhile it had become evening. It was dark in the woods. Then another
child came towards her and asked, 'I'm so cold, haven't you a vest for me?'
Corinne considered this carefully; she thought it's dark here in the
wood. Nobody will see me. It won't matter if I have no clothes and she took
off her vest, too, and handed it to the child.
As Corinne stood there without any clothes, the stars started to fall
down from the sky. They were all hard, shining pennies and although she had
just given away her vest, she realized she had new one on. It was made out
of the most delicate fabric and much nicer than her own. Corinne held out
the vest with both hands and collected as many of the pennies as she could.
From then on she was rich and lived without any worries at all.
*Bible: Acts 20:35
A Different Short Christmas
A Tale We Can All Learn From:
Ian came home from work late in the week before Christmas, tired and
irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the front door.
'Daddy, may I ask you a question?' said Jack.
'Yep sure, what it is?' replied Ian rather brusquely.
'Daddy, how much do you earn in an hour?'
'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' Ian
'I just need to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour? '
'If you must know, Jack, I make £25 an hour,' answered his father.
'Oh,' the Jack replied, with his head down.
'Daddy, may I please borrow £10?' added Jack nervously.
Ian became was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can
borrow some money to buy a silly toy for Christmas or some other nonsense,
then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why
you are being so selfish. I don't work hard every day for such childish
Jack quietly went to his room and shut the door.
Ian sat down and started to get even angrier about Jack's questions. How
dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, Ian had calmed down , and started to think.
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that £10.00 and he
really didn't ask for money very often The man went to the door of his son's
room and opened the door.
'Are you asleep, son?' Ian asked quietly.
'No daddy, I'm awake,' replied Jack.
'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,' said Ian.
'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the
£10.00 you asked for.'
Jack sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you daddy,' he cried. Then,
reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up notes.
Ian saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his
father with his large brown eyes.
'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' Ian grumbled.
'Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.
'Daddy, I have £25 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home
early on Christmas Eve so I can to have dinner with you.'
Ian was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for
It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We
should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time
with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.
to share that £25 worth of your time with someone you love.
More Short Christmas Stories
It really depends on what you mean by 'Short' Christmas story.
Perhaps ours are ultra-short Christmas tales, if so, try our collection of
medium length tales.