Oh Happy Day!
For 15 cool years, Christmas eve was the day dad came home, his head
sinking in his neck under the weight of a sack of beef, rice and bread in
his hands. Welcomed by a basketful of millet flour mum milled on our
grinding stone. My sisters manicuring the compound lawns. Planting
banana trees all over. Decorating the house with flowers, tree branches
and success cards. Then a sumptuous meal. Belching. Little bellies swelling
to bursting point. The parading of new clothes. Watching Rambo at a local
shack for 100 Shillings. Impressing village girls with chewing gum and later
misbehaving with them in the bush near home or the plantation. The singing
of X-mas carols, knocking at doors to sing for the occupants for a few coins.
trailing off in pairs and moaning in painful ecstasy under village trees.
Nohire was the day we showed off our clothes: the holy attire contest
Like many others, it’d be my first and last time in church in 365 days
The day we caught up with friends some of who’d been working in Kampala
We envied them of the Kampala city. Even the pastor did and introduced
them to the congregation that filled the church and briefed them on what
had been done and what needed to be done – and asked them to contribute.
A sumptuous meal awaited. Then we w’d go eating life. Splashing the whole
year’s savings. Unaware of why Baby Jesus was born.
A whole 15 Christmases. Wasted. until the day, the happy day, when Jesus
was born in my heart. Disrobing me of the stinking and alcohol with which
I staggered to the pulpit after the altar call. The guest pastor had preached
about the meaning of Christmas and I was a pack of all the wrongs committed
on that day. The acts that disgraced Baby Jesus and made Mary’s heart writhe
in pain and angered God the father and the Holy Spirit. I cried: Jesus I accept you.
 Runyankore-Rukiga equivalent of Noel, Christmas
Bethlehem’s Inn Keeper
Squirming with labour pangs. Visibly dead beat from
the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem’s census point
baby ready for delivery out of Mary’s round belly
A tinge of urgency in Joseph’s voice and a finger at Mary
pointing, he begged the town’s inn-keeper: an emergency room
Please, she’s in labour. No room, returned the reply.
The Creator’s son had no room in an inn built on land he
formed with his father. Only a manger was not as congested
for the world’s Saviour’s birth place shared with stinking cattle
mowing: happy birthday Baby Jesus; congs Blessed Mary
while the crickets shrilled away in jubilation and mosquitoes
hummed: welcome dear baby: this is Bethlehem!
History knows no man so pitiless like the inn keeper whose
hotel was so chock-a-block for a woman in labour. Couldn’t
he have offered the custodian’s room or the reception or paid off a guest?
Which human being abandons a woman in labour to the beasts
in Bethlehem’s farmlands or the trepidation that accompanies dusk?
What kind of heart did he have: wooden or made of stone?
Did he ever hear the word “love” in his life. What about “sympathy”
What of compassion or did he just not want to associate with the
Wretched couple of potter and carpenter fidgeting to produce
Bethlehem’s next taxi tout or whore as he must have imagined?
For his heart of stone will history know him as the biggest loser who
missed the chance to welcome the creator of the earth into the earth
He created with His Father and the Holy Spirit. And the opportunity to
welcome the King of kings and Lord of lords into the world. And the
chance to accommodate the owner of all accommodation. And the blessed
honour to host the Lord of hosts. And a rare chance to have his name
included into the books of history for I’m still looking for it in my Bible.
The Joseph and Mary of Kampala
Joseph, Bethlehem’s renowned carpenter
Had his eye on the village legendary potter
Mary but never dared fondle, caress and sleep with her
Never visibly mortified her when she
Declared she was oddly pregnant: He only sought
To end engagement on the sly.
But the Joseph of Kampala
Under lust’s dark cloud and credence
Will unzip the pants of the Mary of Kampala
On first date in the City Square dusk and
Hollow Mary will softly moan his sweet cruelty
Update her Whatsapp status to
Enjoyed my first date with powerful Joseph
Sprinkle Facebook with photos of their kissing
Curl her lip at the pastor sermonizing chastity
One Sunday to Christmas:
Does virginity pay bills
Or do carpenters make furniture out of hymen?
How could the Bethlehem’s Mary and Joseph be so raw?
The Joseph of Kampala will brand Mary loose with
her legs when she announces: “we’re pregnant!”
It can’t be me; go find the one who
planted The foetus into your uterus
And blame not the Holy Ghost for you’re not the Bethlehemite Mary
He’ll blacklist her, block her on all social media sites, shift to
another neighbourhood. And the Mary of Kampala will abort
For the seventh time and the next day, Christmas, she’ll will
Piously sing in contralto: Long time ago in Bethlehem…
While Joseph supplements in bass: So the Holy Bible Says…
Samuel Kamugisha is a Ugandan journalist, poet and fiction writer. Born 25 years ago in Bushenyi, western Uganda, Kamugisha read Journalism and Communication at Makerere University and won the 2015 TabereMudini Award, sponsored by Monitor Publications, for his academic excellence.
A former journalist with The Observer, Kamugisha is currently an editor at Living Word Publications, a Christian publishing house based in Kampala-Uganda.
Kamugisha’s poetry and prose have been published in Coursework Love: stories and poems from The Hill of The Learned, a collection about university life; NibsTears; African Crayons; and Parousia Magazine.
Download PAROUSIA Magazine Christmas Issue #4 pdf by following this link.