Christmas: a Celebration without the Celebrant

Christmas: a Celebration without the Celebrant


DSC_3839By Azemobor Gregory.

Christmas celebration by Christians and even non- Christians, all over the world, marks the birthday of Jesus Christ. But, ironically, the celebration does not reflect the values and principles the “celebrant” espoused while he was on earth. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that is how we treat the One whose birthday we commemorate during Christmas!
How would you like it to be your birthday and people gather to celebrate it but decide not to allow you into the party? You are locked out and in fact the mere mention of your name, offend some of the guests – how would you like that? How would you like it that some loved “friends” chose to celebrate your birthday in a manner that is inconsistent with your personality? Wouldn’t be it be proper to seek the “celebrant’s” consent on how he would want his birthday to be solemnized? I am just thinking…..
If Christ were on earth physically, how would He have celebrated his birthday? Would He have bought the most expensive cake to cut on that day? Would He have bought expensive wine, cooked sumptuous meal to serve His high profile guests from all over the world? Would His highly placed friends pay for expensive advertorial for his birthday felicitation on print and electronic media? Would he have allowed needless extravagance to mark his birthday? The answer is no! Jesus Christ, while he was on earth personified humility. He lived an austere life, not because he could not afford material luxury, but because he was guided by the principles of true riches, which is defined by not what you accumulate for self, but what you give to others. He would often admonish his followers, “ Do not lay up your treasure on earth where moth and rot destroy or thieves break in, but lay up your treasure in heaven where rot and moth cannot destroy, nor can thieves break in”. According to him, every good you do to your neighbor is credited into your treasure account in heaven. This altruistic principle of riches, guided his life and ministry.
If Christ were on earth, He would have celebrated his birthday with the poor and the less privilege, for these were his cherished constituency. He loved the weak and the vulnerable. He was a father to the fatherless. He was the husband to the widows. He was an ardent advocate for the cause of the commoners. He would have gathered all those rejected, neglected and suppressed by an unjust society, to his birthday ceremony. He would have given them a special treat as a sign of his affection for them.
But let us contrast the above scenario of how Christ would celebrate his birthday, to today’s perverted Christmas celebration. Today’s Christians and non-Christians use the guise of Christmas celebration to commit all sorts of evil and atrocities. During Christmas period, evil reigns in all its hideous ramifications. Many people steal, defraud or even kill in order to make enough money to spend during the yuletide. During this period, crime rate is at its peak. Also, the consumption of alcohol, cigarette and drugs blossoms- companies selling these intoxicating substances enjoy high patronage, as they smile to the bank with abundant proceeds.
The point I am making is this: Christmas is now purely a celebration of evil. Its essence does not reflect the virtues and noble ideals that Christ lived and died for. Using the name of Jesus Christ for a commemoration that promotes immorality and deprave tendencies is therefore a misnomer. Please do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong in marking the birthday per se, although there is strong contention about the actual date of birth. But what is perturbing is the iniquitousness that characterizes the festivity. Perhaps, those who invented the concept of Christmas (not Jesus Christ himself) had good intention about the solemnization and sanctity that ought to codify the celebration. But regrettably however, over the years, the degeneration and perversion of the original ethos of Christmas has assumed an unredeemable dimension. In essence, the forces of evil have hijacked the lofty ideals ( if any) that Christmas ought to embody.
My position in this piece is not about the religious propriety of Christmas celebration, but the bare-faced hypocrisy of Christians who as it were, are the chief “celebrant” of Christmas. It is regrettable that we Christians have grossly misrepresented the personality of Jesus Christ to the world. We fanatically lay claim to being is followers, but our lifestyle speak the opposite. Mahatma Ghandi, the great spiritual leader, rightly noted this duplicity of Christians, when he opined “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians, because your Christians are unlike your Christ”.
If truly we are the followers of Christ, the noble ideals that he enunciated ought to have guided the way we commemorate Christmas. Christmas ought to have provided an auspicious occasion for us to exemplify the quintessential lifestyle of Christ. The central theme of his message to mankind was LOVE. He did not only preach about this noble virtue, but he demonstrated it where ever he went. The sublimity of his love was palpable to the poor and the downtrodden.
I think the message of love needed to dominate the ambience of Christmas celebration, because this is the only potent elixir that could revitalize a dying world. Rather than focusing on the meaningless superfluity of Christmas rituals, it is high time we used the opportunity of the festivity to advance the cause of good. I wish to appeal to people of good conscience all the world, not to be carried away by the razzmatazz of activities that herald Christmas, but to use the occasion to reflect on the ideals that Christ personified, and to crystallize those ideals in a society that is held hostage by the forces of evil.
When we live like Christ, we indeed, celebrate his incarnation. When we propagate his ideals on earth, we solemnize his birthday. This to me,is Christmas! Beyond the colours and atmospherics of Christmas is the message of the season. And mind you, it is as much about the birthday of Jesus Christ as well as the message he brought to the world. He came to the world brandishing the mantra of peace and love in their profoundest forms. He promised the world the kind of peace that passes human understanding if only the world can abide by his Word.
He urged every man to love his neighbour as himself and to forgive his brother seven times 70 times. He preached salvation, he promised redemption if we hearken to his statutes and live righteously.
But a violent and fractious world could not withstand his ‘arsenal’ of peace; he was more feared than any national armies. He was crucified in order to grant the world redemption. In death, he still offered the world salvation; he left the world with the promise that in the ripeness of his time, he will return to establish an everlasting kingdom with those who believe in him.
He urged his followers to take his message to all corners of the world, to multiply believers across all continents. He is not only the Prince of Peace; he does not only preach love profound; his is a long list of offerings. He teaches us humility, purity, honesty, sincerity, propriety and temperance.
Why is the world still a large theatre of wars and carnage; why is so much hatred and strife still thriving among the peoples of the world in spite of the message of Jesus that has gone out over the ages? This would be the natural question. But the answer may well be: what might have happened to a world void of Jesus Christ?
In conclusion, I therefore urge the people of the world to ride on the spirit this season of Christmas to revisit the teachings of Christ and imbibe some of his precepts. If every man truly loves his neighbour as Christ prescribed and if our lives are governed by the examples he set, the world would be devoid of so much evil and unrighteousness.