For over two hundred years, Christmas has been celebrated as a sacred non-secular holiday and a global cultural celebration. It is the day celebrated via Christians because of the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Who was born in Bethlehem, to Joseph and Mary in a manger, in the inn, with angels pronouncing the information to shepherds who then disseminated the message? Although the month and date of Jesus’ delivery are unknown, between the early-to-mid 4th century the Western Christian Church had located Christmas on December 25, a date which turned into later adopted with the aid of all. Christians rejoice on December 25 within the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally within the civil calendars utilized in countries throughout the world.
December 25 date was possibly selected as it becomes the date the Romans marked as the winter solstice and Jesus became identified with the Sun based on an Old Testament verse. The date is precisely nine months following Annunciation, while the concept of Jesus is celebrated. December 25 turned into the date of the iciness solstice at the Roman calendar. Jesus selected to be born at the shortest day of the 12 months for symbolic reasons, in step with an early sermon by way of Augustine: “Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which next days start to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us chose the shortest day, yet the only whence mild begins to increase.” Linking Jesus to the Sun became supported using various Biblical passages. Jesus becomes taken into consideration to be the “Sun of righteousness” prophesied using Malachi. John describes him as “the mild of the world.”
The history of Christmas in Nigeria commenced with the repatriation of freed slaves from the US of America to Badagry in Lagos, Nigeria in 1838. About 5 hundred freed slaves settled in Badagry and among them was James Ferguson, a Methodist and leader of a buying and selling group.
On March 2, 1841, this James Ferguson, after being approved, invited the missionaries in Sierra Leone to begin missionary paintings in Badagary. The authorities spoke back to James’ invitation on September 23, 1841, after which sent a missionary named Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman to Badagry. Reverend Freeman arrived in a ship called Spy which anchored in a place known as Gberefu (Klefu) Sea Beach.
The reverend became accompanied by two African assistants, William De Graft and his wife who had been both from Gold Coast (now Ghana). Reverend Freeman along with his assistants turned into saddled with the obligation of propagating Christianity in Badagry and other parts of Nigeria. A day after his arrival, he preached a sermon approximately Christianity under the Agia tree in Asisoe Tin, Badagry.
Meanwhile, some of the freed slaves had left Badagry to settle in the rocky city of Abeokuta. Sodeke, the Alake (King) of Egba, then invited Reverend Freeman to evangelize Christianity in his town. Reverend Freeman traveled to Abeokuta on December 11, 1842, and returned to Badagry on December 24, a day before Christmas, and met the famed Reverend Henry Townsend of the Church Missionaries society (CMS now Anglican Church of Christ).
The following day which changed into December 25, 1842, saw Reverend Freeman and Henry Townsend celebrating the first Christmas in Nigeria below the Agia tree in Asisoe Tin, Badagry. The Christmas birthday celebration changed into attended by way of the devoted population of Badagry natives, the freed slaves, and Europeans living in Badagry at that time. The birthday party commenced with Reverend Henry Townsend reading from the scripture after which Reverend Freeman rendered a sermon which he titled ‘The Incarnation Redeemer of Mankind’.
Christmas party started in Nigeria as a gathering underneath a tree in Badagry however as of today, it has gone past such to a big and glamourous celebration with fanfare. Besides being the party of the start of Jesus Christ, Christmas in Nigeria serve as a way of bringing families and loved ones together to percentage joyous and memorable moments.