Once upon a time when Jesus was still in this world, there
was an African woman named Kwiyolecha which means "The Show-off" or "a person
who wants to make a big impression" in Sukuma, an important language in
Tanzania. After hearing him speak as no person has ever spoken, Kwiyolecha met
Jesus in Shinyanga town three days before Christmas and asked him, "Lord, when
will you come to visit us? I see you visiting other people, but you haven’t come
to our home yet." Jesus replied, "Dear woman, just wait three days and I promise
to pay you a visit on Christmas Day."
When Kwiyolecha heard this she was delighted and
immediately went home to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus on Christmas
Day. The Tanzanian woman cleaned her house very well and decorated inside and
outside with many ornaments of the Christmas season. She hung colorful African
cloths everywhere. She and her servants prepared special food and drink
especially the local beer. They slaughtered the bull that they had been
fattening. Having prepared everything to the best of her ability, Kwiyolecha
dressed in her finest African dress. Then she sat down and waited for the Lord’s
arrival with joyful expectation.
Early on Christmas morning a bent old man with sores on
his legs appeared at Kwiyolecha’s house. Upset at this intrusion, she told the
man sharply: "What have you come here for? I’m waiting for an important visitor
and I don’t want you messing up my house. Go away immediately." Without saying a
word the bent old man left.
Some time later a very old lady appeared dressed in rags
and supporting herself with a stick. Exasperated and angry, Kwiyolecha said to
herself, "Why are all these things happening to me?" She rebuffed the old woman
and told her, "Get out of here." The very old lady did as she was told.
Finally at midday a badly crippled Tanzanian boy appeared.
He raised a cloud of dust as he dragged along his twisted legs. Kwiyolecha was
very annoyed when she saw him and said, "What is this wretch doing here?" She
told the boy, "Get away from here as soon as possible and don’t come back
again." The boy immediately went away.
Then for the rest of Christmas Day Kwiyolecha waited
patiently for the Lord Jesus, but he never came.
The next day, which happened to be The 26th of December,
Kwiyolecha met Jesus in Shinyanga town and said: "Lord, why didn’t you come to
our home yesterday? I waited and waited for you. Why didn’t you keep your
promise?" The Lord replied, "Kwiyolecha, I came to visit you three times, but
you did not receive me. When you refused to welcome the bent old man, the very
old lady dressed in rags and the badly crippled boy who came to your home, you
refused to welcome me." At first Kwiyolecha was dumbfounded. Then she remembered
Jesus’ words in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "Truly I tell you, just as you did it
to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
She began to realize for the very first time what it means to be a follower of
Christ and the real meaning of Christian hospitality. So Kwiyolecha looked for
another opportunity to celebrate Christmas by welcoming Jesus in a bent old man,
a very old lady dressed in rags and a badly crippled boy who might come to her