24-12-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
The Kenyan carol for Christmas Eve is dedicated to the tree.
One would say, to the Christmas tree.
No, to the tree of all time, because in Africa every day is Nativity.
It is in the rising sun, the blooming flowers, the returning tide.
It is in the age-old habits of village mothers, in the gestures of those who slowly begin to work.
You don't need a tree to symbolise 25 December, when it is cold and snowy in most of the world. We need a tree that is there always and forever.
Our Christmas tree is the Baobab.
Some of them, like the one in Rabai, the village where the Germans established the first Catholic mission in Kenya in 1846, were there not only before the arrival of the Christian religion, but also before the birth of Jesus.
And so it was natural that Kenyans continued to believe in the souls of their dead, who went to rest in the comfortable trunk of the baobab tree, rather than in a messiah who stood not so comfortably on a cross. Then they realised that alongside respect for their ancestors, their history and traditions (which we have lost) they could absorb the lesson of hope.
Let this therefore be a Christmas for all, especially those who respect and sing the sacred tree of Kenya.
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