It was a hot sunny market afternoon in Nnewi, a popular village in eastern Nigeria. The young girls were on their way to the market, and some were on their way back. The young men with their bare chest which they had groomed over the weeks for public display this afternoon were also carrying their cutlasses on one hand and bush meat or some other proud possession on the other hand. As was usual with every village, there were cliques and squads, and of course, there was a squad everyone wanted to belong to. It was the squad of Maryamaka and her friends. These were the finest girls in the village and their Mazis were very proud of them. They were the gossip on the lips of the other girls and the targets on the battle plans of the village boys.
Maryamaka, the squad leader had no special qualities. She was just a young parish girl that loved the Lord and His favour and grace on her life was what made her radiate enviable glory. Maryamaka however, was not considered to be a good girl by some of the town’s talkabouts because she had one bobo she was in love with, and his name was Josephimeka. They had been together for a long time now, and everyone in the village knew about them.
Josephimeka’s friends were always proud of him and were patiently waiting to be the lucky one on best man duty soon. Maryamaka and Josephimeka were in a perfect relationship for a long time, but things were about to change. Nnewi was becoming a very corrupt village, as they had begun engaging in very wrong and sinful acts of recent, and the Lord was set to cause a revolution forever. He sought for a way but found none than to send His only begotten Son to come in the form of a man. He also sought for a righteous and worthy woman to carry His Son and He saw no one but Maryamaka.
In the cool of the evening, Papa Maryamaka had just had his dinner served by Maryamaka, his favourite meal. Maryamaka was a specialist in preparing Akpu and Ofe Nsala, and she had her Papa licking his fingers. She knelt down to clear and wash his plates before she retired to bed. She went to bed at about 11 p.m when the cock was about to start crowing, and 2 hours later, an event that changed her life forever occurred.
It was very unusual for the most revered town crier, Gabriel Obi to be on duty in the night., but it was a different night. He was sent directly from the King of Kings and he had his gong sounding loudly but only one ear was permitted to hear this night, and they were the ears of Maryamaka. It was an abomination in Nnewi for women to see Gabriel Obi face to face. So when Maryamaka’s ears heard the sacred gong, she woke up with such fear that words cannot qualify. Gabriel Obi was one of the most experienced town criers; he recognised fear once he saw it and he told Maryamaka, “Fear Not, for I bring good news.” He then told her, that she was carrying a child. She immediately shouted “Tufiakwa, that is Impossicant Nnai!” Gabriel Obi explained further, he said “E get one kind anointing wey Holy Ghost don release ontop ya head, ezz a mighty sumtin! It came down with power and it has overshadowed you! That pikin in your belle is a holy child of the Holy Ghost, and his name shall be called CHISOS, and the Lord shall give Him the throne of His forefathers, Mazi David and his clan. He shall be the Igwe that will never be dethroned” Maryamaka had no choice but to accept the will of the Lord and she told Gabriel Obi “As you have talk it, so it shall be, I am just God’s handmaid.”
Maryamaka woke up the next morning and was going about her morning chores with her Mama when she suddenly felt like throwing up. Mama just ignored her and thought she was falling ill. While they were cooking and in the kitchen, the same thing happened and two other times in the next 1 hour. As she came back from the bush the 4th time, Maryamaka saw her Mama smiling very mischievously, as she was about to ask, “Mama, what is it?” Mama Maryamaka shouted “Chineke, Maryamaka, are u plegnant?” Just as she was about to respond, Papa Maryamaka had just finished sharpening his cutlass to go to the farm and he entered the kitchen. He said “Is it true what I just heard Maryamaka? Have u carried Nine months assignment?” Maryamaka was very scared and suddenly started stammering, she said “Pa-p-pa!! Ma-m-ma! Ye-ee-ess, Okay Noo-o-o-oo but Yees—se-e-see I can explain!” Just as she said this, Josephimeka came to visit his betrothed. As he entered the kitchen, Papa Maryamaka said “There is no need to explain, the explanation odikwa visible.”
Josephimeka was furious and confused beyond words as Maryamaka narrated what had happened the previous night to him. He really wanted to believe her but it was all just so confusing. Such Aru had never occurred in their land before but he knew Maryamaka was a righteous someborry, so he didn’t know what to do. As he walked home, his buff chest fell as his pride had been spat on, he decided to just end it, that is to say, issalova for their relationship. He also decided to do it secretly as he still loved and respected Maryamaka. It was about 10 p.m and Josephimeka couldn’t go out for his usual round of NON-ALCOHOLIC palmwine with his brethren. He fell asleep very quickly that night, and in his dream another town crier came to meet him, and explained the happenings of Maryamaka’s night of conception to him, and instructed him to still take her as his wife. Josephimeka immediately went to his people to meet Papa Maryamaka to ask for her hand in marriage.
When he got there, Papa Josephimeka said “We have seen a beautiful flower in your compound and we would like to pluck it” Papa Maryamaka violently replied “Oh Oh Oh, now you want to pluck it. Ya son dinnot tell you he has plucked it, watered it, cultivated it, and now he wants to harvest the plantation, plix and plix, just come and marry her and be going okwai!” Papa Josephimeka however found a way to appease Papa Maryamaka and the couple got married.
Josephimeka and Maryamaka went through a lot during her pregnancy. Josephimeka had to work harder as more responsibility was on the way, this gave him less time to be around for his wife. Maryamaka was very lonely too as all her friends found it hard to believe that she was capable of seducing the Holy Ghost, talkless of him impregnating her. As her due date drew closer, she needed her Nnai’s attention the more, and he had to come back early so they would sit down outside, talk and stare at the half moon together as they awaited the new moon festival; which was important to the people of Nnewi.
On the 24th evening of December, the entire village of Nnewi was in jubilation to celebrate the new moon festival. Drums were rolling, kegs of palm wine were being emptied, and young girls were dancing as the men concentrated as though they were monitoring a bush meat for slaughter. Maryamaka and Josephi, as she fondly called him did not want to be left out and decided to go visit his parents. Josephi put her on his bicycle as she was already set to deliver and he just pushed the bicycle by her side. They talked, played, and laughed hard all the way for about an hour until her water burst. It was labour time and they were in the middle of nowhere.
Josephimeka was confused beyond description and started doing the weirdest things. He took off his shirt and started running on a spot for about 2 minutes before he asked, “is it paining you?” She tried to calm him down, and explain what to do, but he started singing really loudly, and then he started crying too. Maryamaka knew her husband was losing it and shouted at the top of her voice, “Peace be still!” If I hear, she join am for the cry….He then realised he had to be a man and started sourcing for a solution. He saw a ray of light appearing from one hut some kilometres away and hurriedly guided his bicycle there as Maryamaka’s legs were widely spread on them for the world to see their Igwe, I call it the foretaste!
Alas, the house belonged to the popular farmer, Mazi Onyeama, or as he was popularly known as, Mazi Billions. He saw them from afar and exclaimed, “the gods must also be filled with some wine this night; this thing coming my way is Odikwa very risky!” He ran out and asked them what the matter was, “Hello, what is going on here?” Josephi was confused at this question, he kept thinking: Is he not seeing her stomach is big, and her legs are spread open, and he is asking what is going on here. We are playing Ten-Ten Sir! Of course, it was all in his mind o. He told him what was happening and Mazi Onyeama not seeing any other way out called his wife to prepare her for delivery as he went to arrange his yam barn as a temporary labour room.
It was past midnight already and Mazi Onyeama and Josphimeka were pacing about the compound for the next 20 minutes as they kept hearing Push, Push, Push! They kept going to and fro like a roaring….Sorry, they are borning Chisos here, I have to tell this seriously! They kept going to and fro, and suddenly halted as they heard no noise again. The next thing that followed was the cry of the baby, and Josephimeka screamed, Chissssooooosss!!!!
There exists a place called Onitsha; it has been in existence since 154….argh, since over 2 thousand years ago. The amazing thing about business in Onitsha is that you must be aware of the times and seasons, else you will not blow, and there were 3 business godfathers that understood this principle. Immediately Josephimeka shouted Chisos, they smiled and said “Oge Eruola”. Immediately, they called their boys and organised special containers carrying gifts for the new Igwe, and were led by the full moon which was directly on top the new Igwe’s special labour room. They found him and offered their containers of worship unto him.
Very quickly, the news spread round the village. So, in Nnewi today, when the new moon festival is celebrated, an even bigger celebration happens and it is the birth of the most important personality in the world! The birth of the Igwe of the world, Igwe Chisos!
This was the story my grandmother first told me on how Jesus was born and why we always celebrate on the 25th of December, they may have told you another story in your village, don’t believe them! Believe Matthew 1: 18-25 and Matthew 2: 1-2! Merry Christmas!
Nnewi – Bethlehem
Maryamaka – Mary
Josephimeka – Joseph
Mazi – Elder
Bobo – Gentleman
Papa – Father
Mama – Mother
Gabriel Obi – Gabriel
Towncrier – Angel
Chineke – God
Plegnant – Pregnant
Someborry – Somebody
Chisos – Jesus
Igwe – King
Aru – Abomination
Oge Eruola – This is our time
Odikwa – It is
Mama Nkiru – **madeup 🙂 **
What is your opinion of this retell of the Christmas story? Is this story worth winning the RETELLING THE CHRISTMAS TALE contest? Let us know in a comment below. (PLENTY GIVEAWAYS FOR 3 LUCKY PEOPLE THAT POSTS COMMENTS)