Christmas is always a big deal not only in Uganda, but also in Africa as a continent. It is a big deal not because everyone understands what it means or stands for. People get excited about it primarily because of the celebrations (the eats, drinks, dance parties, new clothes) that come with it.
The month of December is when the businessmen make a year’s worth of profit through sales from people who are shopping for Christmas. Parties and celebrations commence as we enter the last month of the year and would run until the first week of January. The downside to these kind of excitements and expenses it brings is that it has created a wrong assumption, an inaccurate belief that Christmas would be meaningful when all the above are present.
The year 2020, however turned out to be something no one in the world could imagine. The death, the sufferings, the quarantine, the lockdown, the travel restrictions and a whole lot came with the two repeated numbers, 2020. From the look of things, we are far from getting back to normal. This is true whether you’re referring to the old normal or the new normal.
We praise God that there are vaccines being worked on and which are showing all the positive signs that it is going to work. But that is still in the horizon and far from the reach of the majority – the common man. This means the current new lifestyle will continue and God only knows for how long.
Now that we cannot have the Christmas parties, the dances, the outings, the shopping both because of financial reasons and health risk factors, can Christmas still be meaningful? You may be struggling with this question yourself.
We can and should be thankful because COVID-19 has pushed us to rethink our priorities, it has made us re-evaluate what the most important things are in our lives. I hope it helps us see Christmas with a new pair of lenses and then be able to celebrate it with the new insights.
The meaningfulness of Christmas is not measured or should not be weighed against the clothing worn, the kind of fun we can have or the food on the table. It never has and never will be found in the things the world offers. We cannot find God’s meaning in the world’s dictionary of goodness or fun. The ways of the world are different from that of Christ (Isaiah 55:9).
The real meaning of Christmas is found in the cradle and the baby laying in a manger. “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).
Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas, and not the kind of cloths we wear or the food we have on our table. Those things are not bad in themselves; but they are just not the reason for the season.
You can have all the things of the world but without the birth of Jesus and the purpose of His Coming which is to save us from our sins; our Christmas will not be meaningful.
John the Baptist declared in his testimony about Jesus as he pointed everyone to Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”
(John 1:29). This verse gives us the reason for Christmas, and we celebrate the birth of the “Lamb of God” who was born to take away our sins.
“And God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is where the meaningfulness of Christmas is found. The word “CHRIST-MAS” itself defines it. A mas is an organized celebration of something, a specified festival of something or someone. Christmas is therefore an organized celebration of Christ.
Christmas celebrations ought to Focus on Jesus Christ, His birth and his ultimate sacrificial atoning death on the cross for our sins. Let the lyrics to the song – Lord I lift your name ring in our hearts as we celebrate Christmas.
You came from heaven to earth to show the way.
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high
Let us not dwell on the things we have or do not have. We need to turn our attention to what God has done for us through His Son. If we turn our focus to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, we will have the most meaningful Christmas ever.
Kasule Jacob is the Founder of Galactic Foundation in Uganda
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash