Thursday, 26 December 2013

The truth about Christmas BY PRICILLA CHRISTOPHER

Over the years, Christians worldwide have diligently kept the tradition of remembering the birth of Christ every 25th day of December.
This tradition which is almost as old as the world itself has been like a legacy handed down from one generation to the other such that no one can really tell who instituted it, why it was instituted and it essence of celebration. 

So, seasons like this is usually accompanied by series of shopping, travelling exchange of gifts visit to tourist centres and a lot of fun-catching exercises.  
The streets are littered with funny images of Santa Claus; an assumed Mary, feeding an assumed baby Jesus, Christmas lights and other pictures portraying the celebration of the greatest man  ever recorded on earth.

Similarly, music points add spice to the season by paying carols and songs insinuating the Birth of Christ, offices and corporate outfits wear new looks of green and red decorations and the  entire town comes aglow with coat of many colours.

One place Christmas is felt in all its entirety is the home. From the first week of December, the budget is already drawn and purchases for the D-day commences immediately. Items ranging from wears to wares are purchased, possessions like land, cars, and houses are acquired, old items are replaced with new ones, stained relationships are made-up, the house and it surroundings is given a massive refurbishment thus, an old forsaken house comes alive at Christmas. Before Christmas Day, the home is already up with the jostling of anxious children who cannot wait to put on their new wears the following day; the sitting–room is well decorated with a Christmas tree standing close to Mr. Santa Claus in a strategic position; all is set for the event! 

Indeed, the joy and happiness experienced at Christmas is one superseding other celebrations; an activity worthy of the grand birth of the world’s saviour, if you may ask.

These are two significances of Christmas: the Religious significance and the given significance. While the former originates from the scripture, the latter originates from mortal commandment, an assumption by men. The religious significance holds to the fact that there is no scriptural command directing Christians to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ but His death which Christ himself instituted and commended in Luke 22:19. The given Significance holds that Christmas is derived from a catholic word, MAS and CHRIST meaning, a crowd of people following Christ. It also holds that though Christmas is not found in the Bible, men can observe it as a normal remembrance of a person’s birthday which everybody does.

The religious significance has however argued that the given significance is inconsequential and contrary to Colossians 2:16 “Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon or of the Sabbath days” adding that church leaders should not impose opinions and ideas on their followers but should allow them use their discretion in making choices with no scriptural directives.

It also cautions Christians to be wary of imposed worship as seen in Colossians 2:20-22 “therefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not, taste not, handle not; which all are to perish with using;) the commandments and doctrines of men?”    
This arguments between the religious and given significance has existed from time immemorial and stronger party has often prevailed with the other, keeping to it believe.

The truth that Christmas is not Biblical also presents itself in the choice of the date. A thorough search of the scriptures by Bible scholars reveals that only the 31st verse of Jeremiah 52 has a record of the 25th day of December. The King of Babylon, Evil-Merodaci brought out Jehoiachin, the King of Judah from prison and for the first time in 73 years of captivity, spoke kindly to him, set his throne above that of other kings, changed his prison garments, and  fed him with a ration equal to his own daily until Jehoiachin’s death.
In the light of the above, celebrating Christmas becomes a solemn moment for the remembrance of the mighty king of Judah who fell from grace to grass and was promoted again after 73 years in captivity and of course, nobody does this.

The truth about Christmas is that it has no religious affinity and should not be seen as one. The reason for the frenzy is perhaps because of the prominence of Christ and that is undisputable. However, should such lowly birth condition warrant such noise? Agreed he was a great man, has anybody wondered why Christ himself did not celebrate his birthday for once while he lived on earth? Or has anybody wondered why he instructed the remembrance of his death and not his Birth?

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he advised them to  prove all things and hold on to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) He also urged them to think on things that are true honest, and of good report in Philippians 4:8.
Since the Bible is the bedrock of Christians’ conduct and behaviours, It precepts must be followed accordingly.

Christmas is and should be seen as a social event which should be observed with all amount of decency. Laws should not be made where there are no laws and Christians should endeavour to investigate their actions to avoid vain worship.

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