Writer: Derrick Otim

CHRISTMAS IS HERE AGAIN! It’s definitely my most exciting time of the year. First, Jesus Christ is really the reason for this season, the greatest gift from God. But guess what! We are part of it too. He came because of us. But, the other thing I love most about this time of the year is getting to sing those beautiful angelic like Christmas songs. I love singing.

I still watch cartoons, so, during this time, watching lots of nice Christmas cartoons or animation films on TV is part of the deal. Some childhood things don’t go away easily. I can’t hide my love for animation. The movies; we used to watch the Home Alone movie so much since the setting was Christmas, really nice. The house decoration; the disco lights, the Christmas tree, the nice Christmas music, things that make it feel like Christmas. For me Christmas cuts across time with family, friends, plus spheres of church and work.

Shockingly, all the Christmases have found me in the City (Kampala). What I love most is the Christmas decorations that light up shops. During the day you can see them, but it is so much more lovely in the evening. The different lights lining glittering in the shops. It is enjoyable to see, especially when you are stuck in the traffic jam on your way home, left and right every shop is singing CHRISTMAS.

My siblings and I are yet to experience what Christmas is like in the village, hopefully someday it will happen. We are always here (City), but we surely make the most of it. Well, I believe the day we travel to Gulu for Christmas will come.

Family : We don’t do so much stuff together as a family on Christmas, but, we look forward to having a great meal to seal the day. We wake up and plan the day, go to church, buy what to cook. However, the most exciting part is where we do the swallowship after the fellowship at church. I think the only different thing we did in all our Christmases was in 2018. We slaughtered a whole goat for Christmas and roasted it, something that we had never done before. It was a really cool experience. There was a lot of meat.

Friends: My church cell family, really wonderful bunch of ladies and gents that I have shared life with for the past three years. They call me the choir master, I always lead them in worship during cell. During Christmas time, we have this box of money that we break to see what we have been dropping in since January. We plan and prepare for our last cell of the year before some travel to the village. We do gifting on that day too. Actually this year Gerald a good brother in cell already surprised me with a blazer, I totally wasn’t expecting this.

At work: Last year, we had a short lunch time Christmas carols at work. It was organized by our Toto magazine editor. The fact that I told her personally that I could sing was a ticket to this. It wasn’t easy preparing for it though. I was juggling work assignments and making it in time for Christmas Cantata practice at church (Watoto). But we pulled it off, some of my work colleagues still jokingly speak to me about it. I think they had never organized Christmas carols at work before. Church : Over the past years serving in church, I haven’t missed Christmas productions, I was either dancing in the church dance crew, ushering or singing, by the way, even acting. While at my former church (Victory Church of Christ Ministries International-VCCMI), there is a Christmas production where I acted as Angel Gabriel delivering the message of God to Mary, haha.

THE CHRISTMAS CANTATA! In 2013, my good friend Ederu Harriet treated me to a Christmas experience I had never had before. She invited me to Watoto church downtown to watch the Christmas production called the “Christmas Cantata,’ it was a catchy term. I didn’t
know what it was or what to expect then. The day came and Oh My! The line of people queuing up to watch the Cantata show was long. But we finally made in for the last show and it was just awesome! The singing, the dancing, and the drama, the lights, I was left in awe!

Since that time, I have never missed a Christmas Cantata production at Watoto Church. When I joined Watoto Church last year in January (2019), well, things took a notch higher, this time I was involved. I was in the choir singing. It was a wonderful experience especially before the curtains would be lifted, we would have this really fun filled moment doing funky dance strokes, taking some selfies, really funny before the curtain and lights come on. Unfortunately, this year I
won’t be in the mix due to COVID-19. But surely, I’ll watch the 2020 Christmas Cantata online.

This year, COVID19 has happened, plans disrupted, but, let us be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world. So, let us celebrate this Christmas joyfully, the pandemic can’t stop this.

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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