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Reclaiming the Christian joy of Christmas

KABAMBA MWANSA
Christmas is a Christian festival marking the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. It marks the celebration of the Word made Flesh God the Father sending His only begotten Son to redeem creation and giving it new life. “When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons” (Gal 4:4-5). Jesus became man thus giving humanity access to encounter the Father’s redeeming love. “Something which has existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands: the Word, who is life, this is our subject. That life was made visible: we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which was with the Father and has been made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we are telling you so that you too may be in union with us, as we are in union with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:1-3). Therefore, the value of Christmas is beyond the squabble of the exact date of Christ’s birth or Christmas celebration coming from the legendary pagan culture, but points to the reality of God being present, dwelling among human being and participating in the life of His creatures as a full human being. We read in the Bible, “but to all who received him, who believed in his name, He gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1: 12).
Where have we gone wrong?
Indeed in some parts of our society, Christmas has lost some faith aspects to the extent that it doesn’t witness to the Christian identity. Christmas has been stripped off its Christian character through vices of secularisation, whereby people during this festival season engage themselves in irresponsible activities, such as, abuse of alcohol and illicit sexual activities. Christmas holy day has just become like any other socio-public-holiday without any recourse to Christianity. In the business sector, Christmas has been commercialised such that it is now only a business propaganda and not a Christian agenda. In the political world, Christmas has become a way of selling political manifestos especially in extending staged almsgiving to attract the masses.
The joy of Christmas
Christmas is a moment of expressing the joy that comes with believing in Jesus Christ who comes with new life towards a New Year. Christmas is a moment of peace: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and his name will be called … Prince of Peace” (Is 9:6).
Christmas time is a Christian period of almsgiving. Actually the whole concept of charitable giving lays in extending a hand by the privilege to the underprivileged people.
To the Christians who fail to find reasons for celebrating Christmas due to so many earthly misfortunes. Christmas festival too is a walk on such misfortunes towards Jesus who assures us that he is the life, the truth and light, and that he came to give us life and life to the full.  Jesus Christ in the Christmas season is presented as a child; ready to make a home with us and to grow joyfully in us. The child Jesus is born joyfully in our home seeking to transmit the same joy in our daily endeavours. Hence, Christmas should create in us a joyful thirst for God and lead us to desire to see the glory of his Son our Lord.  Therefore, reclaiming the Christian identity of Christmas is a call to make a home for Christ in everyone’s heart with joy. It is only through the birth of Christ that we are liberated from everything that holds us back and free to be ourselves and to enjoy the newness of belonging to God in an exciting personal manner. Indeed, a great responsibility rests on the Christians in promoting and upholding the true meaning of Christmas. We should not lose sight that Christ is the reason for the Christmas festival season.
Happy Christmas!
The author is a student of theology at St. Dominic’s major seminary



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