I have put off writing a Christmas post up until now because I wasn’t sure what angle I wanted to approach it from.
But today, since getting back from the salon I’ve just been feeling odd and somewhat unhappy without really being able to pinpoint what exactly is the cause. My dad thinks maybe I don’t like my hair…lol.
Christmas, for the longest time, hasn’t really been something that I consciously looked forward to. I always look forward to coming home and seeing my family and friends but nothing to do with the particular day.
My time in Lagos has been okay so far but there’s such an air here that I’m not used to and I think that adds to the way I’m feeling. This is a land of comparisons and competition and whether you like it or not, the bug seeps into your subconscious and before you know it you feel that “longness” that comes with making some sort of unnecessary effort to get involved with stuff you don’t even care to get involved with.
My social media intake has quadrupled since I’ve been here and I think that has added to my looming dissatisfaction because I realise that most of my real friends are with me in London and when I get into Lagos, it’s a lot harder to plan a fun time with people I’m not used to seeing often because they live here. So I have to rely on my fellow IJGBs (I just got back) and AFCOs (around for Christmas only) when they get into town so that I fell less out of place. Trust me, by the time you’ve watched 10 people’s snapchat videos and pictures and they are all at the same venue and of course, you’re not, you begin to feel a little bit somewhat insignificant.
But as I sit here thinking about all these things and wondering how I ever let them get to me, I literally have had to admit that I need to refocus my mind on Christ. To be honest, I know that since I’ve been back in Lagos, my quiet time with God has drastically lessened unintentionally.
As I journey through my thoughts further, my mind is now drawn to the many people around the world who don’t have families to spend this time with, the people who have been displaced by wars and floods, the kids who have been orphaned, the murdered spouses and all the craziness that this year has seen. It will be unforgivably un-Christlike of me not to forcibly wear my cloak of gratitude at this point.
Maybe Lagos hasn’t been the best for me because I just may have spent it unknowingly lusting after the things I don’t have. But what about the things I do have like: my perfectly crazy family; the friends who love and support me; the progress I’ve made this year; the roof over my head, the money in my purse, the suitcase full of clothes, the ability to take an uber when I need to, the fact that I can use all my 5 senses without any complications and much more?
This is no doubt a season of self-gratification and when we make that our main aim and still end up feeling far from gratified (because we are made to serve others not ourselves), I think that’s where the spirit of heaviness can thrive.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, being a Christian trying to live purposely for God is not easy to do in Lagos. While I am not particularly interested in going clubbing, for example, Lagos social life is largely characterised by this and it’s so easy to feel left out even from things you don’t even mind not attending. Even worse, when the ones you would like to attend are earmarked with “By initiation only” and you have no invite or know anyone who can get you an invite. But I digress.
Anyway, I don’t mean to sound so blah on Christmas Eve but fact is a lot of people do feel like this but would not want to be spoilsports for the genuinely happy ones around them. So these feelings get bottled up and are rolled over till next Christmas.
So in order to fight these blues, I suggest meditating on the following:
- Christmas isn’t a time of joy because we get to see our friends and family and eat more than our bodies can handle. It is a time of joy because it is a significant time for Christians and non-Christians alike regardless of whether they celebrate it personally or not – Luke chapter 2 verse 11 tells us of a Saviour that has been born for the world so that we have a clear path to Heaven and the promises of eternal life. This is more important than the fleeting pleasures of this season and should always keep us grounded as to what the real reason of the season is.
- In today’s UCB devotional write up, a sentence that resonated with me was “This Christmas, in the midst of the toys, the tinsel, and the tumult, stop and look for Jesus”. As I mentioned, Christmas is not just for Christians because I know non-believers who have more decorations in their homes and have done ten times more christmas shopping than I have even bothered to do, but for them it’s just a public holiday to spend with family and exchange gifts. They don’t think of Jesus though they understand in the overall sense that it has something to do with Jesus. While that works for them, as Christians, the forgetting or lack of acknowledgment of the meaning of this season can actually cause a great disconnect for us because our spirits are already attuned to God by the virtue of us being “saved”. Up until today, I didn’t really consciously remind myself of where Jesus actually fits into these festivities and that might be part of the reason I wasn’t feeling 100%.
- If there was no birth, there would be no death and resurrection which makes it NOW possible for us to be reconciled to God and there would be no basis for John chapter 3 verse 16 which to me is holistically representative of what Jesus represents from His birth all the way to His resurrection and ascension. He is simply the reason for my being and my significance is solely in Him not in other human beings who only recognise others because of their earthly achievements.
After all is said and done, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance.
2015 is almost done and 2016 is going to be all we hope for and more.
Stay joyful by focusing on what truly matters and keep the cloak of gratitude on ALWAYS.
Lots of love from me to you and yours,
The Steph Way