By Chukwuchebem Samuel O
The Lord has spiritually inspired me to write and voice out my negative perceptions about Christmas. The headline as it is being captioned, remains an assertion which in my education of higher learning and understanding, could also be called “Thesis”. I have chosen to refer to it as an assertion, simply because it is debatable and on the other hand, thesis, in the sense that it can be supported, proved or rather disputed.
However, as I go on with this topic, it will be in the best interest of the writer to elucidate the true meaning of Christmas celebration and most importantly, on the reasons why it has become a time for deliberate evils.
Now, what is Christmas in the first place? It is an annual event that is largely celebrated by Christians all over the world on the 25th day of December to mark the birthday celebration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Worthy of note is the fact that the celebration of Christmas has a lot of good and spiritual meanings attached to it, such as:
1. It is the most widely celebrated feast in the entire world;
2. Christmas is a celebration that brings peace, joy and salvation to mankind;
3. It is always a time for sober reflections in our lives;
4. Christmas should be a time for true forgiveness and reconciliation among ourselves.
5. It should be a time for sharing with the less privileged such as the motherless babies and widows.
6. Christmas is also a time for putting smiles on the faces of the sick ones and even those living in abject poverty.
7. It is a time for visiting the prisoners in our various prisons and should in case you don’t know, some of these prisoners are suffering unjustly and they really need our help. More so, it is even because of people like these that the church formed a commission known as (JDPC) Justice Development and Peace Commission.
8. Above all, Christmas should be a period for sincere and genuine repentance.
But today, it is a pity and quite unfortunate that most people have chosen to be celebrating Christmas in such an ungodly manner that does not give or rather portray the spirit in which Christmas should be celebrated. They have gone extra miles to establish the satanic concepts of Christmas to the world and are busy inducing God’s people to embrace it. We have changed the true meaning of Christmas to become the period we nurture and carry out all forms of evils such as immorality, precisely in the ugly field of prostitution, cultism and cases of armed robberies in its highest levels and degrees, so as to meet up to the worldly standard and other insatiable wants of ours, leaving aside the spiritual revival.
Let me tell you a story of what I encountered on a Tuesday morning being 17th December, 2013 at about 10:30am. I was at Babangida market, Suleja to make purchases, when suddenly I heard a noise, in fact it was an echo, echoing from a crowd of people, I quickly turned to the direction of the echo in a frightened mood and with some element of astonishment in me, I saw three able bodied local security young men known as ‘yabanga’ holding a woman, with a large crowd behind them. I asked a question on what was happening just like every other standing viewer, and I was told that the woman was caught in the very act of stealing wrappers, jewelries and a cash of twenty thousand Naira from her customer that she usually buy things from. You needed to have seen the bad manner by which this woman was being handled by those three young men and also how the crowd was hitting and touching the woman. The legal luminaries will always call that kind of touching an indecent assault. But the woman had no choice at that point because she had done the abominable just to meet up with the unholy concept of celebrating Christmas.
Furthermore, do we talk about those who go into rituals, patronizing different occult societies so as to make money through dubious means? What type of joy and happiness do you have in you at Charismas if you have offered your wife, son, daughter, father or mother in exchange for ill gotten wealth at Christmas? Is it possible for someone to be happy when joy and sorrow of death are being mixed together in order to meet up to the standard of the world” It is a pity that most of us are in the habit of living higher than our incomes and in the course of it, we initiate policies and projects that are capital intensive at Christmas such as traveling to the village for Christmas with flashy cars and insisting that his or her unfinished building must be completed before Christmas celebrations.
What about your neighbours who cannot afford five cups of rice at Christmas? Why not give your neighbor quarter bag out of the one bag of rice you bought at Charismas? You easily forget that when you embark on frivolous spending that are higher than your earnings at Christmas, you end up sustaining financial injuries that is capable of making you to-suffer from heavy financial chronic cancer. That is the more reason why you see so many people after Christmas; they find it difficult to augment their family needs.
Meanwhile, I may not be doing a complete job if I do not talk about those who have commercialized Christmas in their different fields of business. Some business men and women will make extra efforts to bring attractive goods that are scarce in the open market and because of that singular reason of scarcity, they will purposely put a price tag of three thousand naira on a commodity that they purchased at one thousand naira when you know that the fifty percent of one thousand naira is five hundred naira. At that very point, I do not know if you will agree with me that, that very profit of two thousand naira for an item that was bought at the rate of one thousand naira is no longer a profit as people tend to assume but a profiteering in a larger proportion which is an offence against God.
Once more, what do we say about travelling during Christmas? Is it compulsory? The answer is capital No but from my own personal observation, it has become a necessary evil. The Bible has not said that we must travel during Christmas and no culture or tradition has done the same. Man has compounded a lot of problems upon himself and has found it extremely difficult to unburden himself from self imposed load. The celebration of Christmas can be done anywhere. It does not have special blessing or favour attached to it in the village or in Diaspora. You can travel if you so desire but it should not be a must on the ground of Christmas celebration. Most often, people lose their lives in the course of traveling during Christmas. Now what is the gain if I may ask? When everybody is on the road on a particular time, there is bound to be congestion which possibly could lead to accidents and ungodly experiences.
My dear people of God, it is my sincere wish at this point to draw your attention closer to the true meaning of Christmas celebration as we approach 25th day of December, 2015. If it is not for anything, let this year’s Christmas celebration make a difference in our lives. The negative idea of buying cars, building houses, wearing most expensive clothing, travelling, stepping on people’s toes just to achieve selfish ends, excess eating and drinking of alcohol during Christmas should be done away with. Instead, let us spend that quality of time, energy and money to make spiritual preparation such as Christmas retreat and attending sacrament of penance in preparation for Christmas celebration. Let us imbibe the spirit of love and oneness at this Christmas, touching the lives of people positively, sympathizing and empathizing with the sick ones, disabled, prisoners, the less priviledged in our societies and even the down trodden. By so doing we shall come to experience God’s greatness and upliftment in our lives at this Christmas and beyond.
I pray for God’s enabling graces that we need in our lives to hearken to His voice by putting that which we have heard into practice.
Otherwise, what is the essence of celebrating Christmas at the detriment of family welfare? A situation whereby a man is unable to cater for his family basic needs e.g. paying of school fees, house rent and even feeding after Christmas celebration. May God help us as we desire to walk in His righteous path through Jesus Christ our Lord (Amen).
Thanks and God bless, I love you all.
Writes from St. Mary’s Catholic Parish, Suleja,
Catholic Diocese of Minna, Niger State