It is Christmas time and the feeling is so saturated in the air. Of course for those of us in Ghana one major reason why we can tell it is that time of the year again, is the weather – the harmattan. It came in a few weeks back, characterized by dryness in the atmosphere and unbearable cold mornings. Coincidentally, the season dries up the pockets of many too. Due to the festivities, many are seen going about shopping for the family and buying gifts for loved ones.
What is Christmas? Why all the fuss? How come it seems to unearth the ‘mother Theresa’ in all of us, hence we go about giving out gifts? No matter how it may seem many have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas, yet during this period many are accustomed to living up what Christmas stands for (Which is, giving). It says in the bible in Isaiah 9:6 that, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…’. Amazing piece of scripture right there. Meaning the real essence of Christmas is giving. It is a time to give and to receive. Christmas is indeed celebrated to remember the virgin-birth of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ. The only reason for the season. Since the bible says he was given unto us, hence we show our appreciation for this enormous gift by giving to many too. The Son who was given unto us requires us to make such sacrifices as he made for humanity. Some of which include laying down our personal pleasures and comfort to seek the welfare of others. It is an amazing experience. My only wish is that we would live everyday of our lives with the principles of Christmas brightly beaming out of our every action. In the sense that, if people could be this philanthropic and generous during Christmas, why not do it all year round? Anyway, I believe gradually the human race would realize that relegating good deeds to a particular season or time in the year isn’t good enough.
Anyway, the reason I set out to write this piece is to address the issue of the prohibition of the celebration of Christmas. This has turned out to be a doctrine in most Christian institutions (churches). Backed by some reasons, many people do think celebrating the birth of Christ (or their own birthdays) is rather a trivial issue hence has no positive influence on humanity. One of the reasons is the date of Christmas day, 25th December. It turns out to be originally a day set aside to celebrate one of the pagan gods, hence Constantine in his famous political move of uniting Christianity and Paganism made this a day for the remembrance of Jesus’ birth. It is believed he fused a lot of pagan traditions into Christianity in order to score cheap political points and also to maintain peace and stability in his empire. Because of this, many refuse to celebrate Christmas because 25th December is not the exact date of Christ’s birth. It means the history of the date of an event – that may no longer even be recognized – should deter us from celebrating what that event means to us because of the incorrect date. Since this is the analogy they use, can we apply the same analogy to other things? For example, the word ‘testimony’. This word is known to be widely used in Christendom as a way of recounting how good the Lord has been to you; it is usually said in front of a congregation. However, in Ancient Rome, the word represented a reality that is somewhat profane. This is because it was used to describe the event of men swearing on their own or each other people’s testicles to establish the veracity of their account. Get it? Testicles… testify… testimony. Does the history of this word present a deterrence to Christians from using it in church services today? Certainly Not! Also, if you enjoy soccer as I do, it may interest you to know that some time ago, there were no soccer balls, hence human skulls and sometimes a pig’s bladder was used as the ball. This is totally barbaric and very inhuman. Yet we see a change, don’t we? Nowadays, soccer balls are made in factories from what appears to be leather and a few other materials. What am I saying? I just want to draw your attention to the fact that, the history of a thing that isn’t relevant or recognized today shouldn’t deter us from enjoying that it with the new meaning it has gathered over the years.
You can’t by pass the values Christmas time has instilled in us. This Christmas is going to be a totally unique one for me. This is because I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of God through his mercy and grace and the generosity of my fellow humans. I started working on 1st November, meaning I have only known my colleagues and superiors for less than 2 months. Yet this week being the last week working-week of the year, four different people gave me Christmas presents. Funnily enough the person I am closest to at work didn’t show up on the last day. I am overwhelmed by this gesture, in the sense that people who barely know me deem it fit to give me presents all because of the season. It’s a shame I thought otherwise and probably had no plans for them as I thought we didn’t know ourselves long enough to be exchanging gifts. What an awareness the remembrance of the birth of Christ brings!!! It will totally blow you away if you should read about what took place on Christmas day during the first world war. It was called the Christmas Truce. Because it was characterized by a series of ceasefires just for soldiers on both sides at the war front to exchange gifts, seasonal greetings, have joint burial ceremonies and even play soccer matches. Need I remind you that these were people who, prior to the Christmas day, were killing each other? If this is what Christmas can do at the war front, then please let there be Christmas every day. Imagine what the world would look like if our every action was influenced by the principles of Christmas.
I think it is absurd to prohibit the celebration of Christmas. The bible even says in Colossians 2:16, ‘… let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival…’. Hence if you think the birth of Christ is not worth celebrating, fair enough, but please do well not to pass judgment on those who find the need to do it. We know what we are about and we know what it means to us and humanity. Merry Christmas to you all. God bless you.