Sunday 11 April 2021
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Christmas…time for gifts?

In 39 days, it will be Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…

As far as any child above the age of 1 is concerned, Christmas starts as soon as the Christmas decorations appear in stores or the Christmas plays start happening at school.

The Lounge went on a tour of shopping malls in Windhoek and its pretty obvious that ‘silly season’ is here.

Trimmings, glitter, snowflakes, Uncle or Mr or Father Christmas, Boney M music on repeat and just random gleefully happy people – that is what the Christmas season do to people.

Now, certainly no one can complain about happy people which have at times become a scarcity of sorts, but one cannot but wonder why such a scared season is so commercially celebrated.

Essentially, how is the birth of Jesus honoured by us getting in debt ? How does ‘ke Dezember boss’ spread joy to the world?

The Lounge spoke to a few people about the true meaning of Christmas. There is an emerging argument that Christians should not celebrate Christmas at all because there is no such instruction in the Bible.

Yet others, do not celebrate Christmas at all, touting it to be nothing but another extended public holiday during which they can party and laze around.

Having become disillusioned with the whole ‘Christmas season’, ‘MVJ’ speaking anonymously believes that the biggest mistake we make is to assume all Africans are Christians.

He further states “the Christmas subject is very broad and one cannot discuss it with [especially] non-Christians without mentioning paganism, from where the holiday was adopted or copied.”

He believes that the topic as it is should be clearly defined and its history dissected in order for it to be meaningfully discussed.In stark contradiction, protagonists argue that the Apostle Luke tells of the angels celebrating Jesus’ birth and invites his followers to accompany him to Bethlehem to witness the birth of the baby Jesus just as it had been foretold.

While no one really knows when exactly Jesus was born, secular scholars assume a date between 6 BC and 4 BC.

The Lounge spoke to the popular Reverend Lukas Katenda of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of Namibia who contends that it is necessary for the story of Jesus’ birth to be told.

However, he strongly asserts that Christmas has become totally commercialised and that we have lost the true meaning of the celebration.

“We would be better served in spending the time reflecting on our society and the social crises that we are facing in our leadership, current economic climate and country as a whole, instead of giving in to the hype and spending copious amounts of money on things that do not glorify God.”

There are also churches who do not celebrate Christmas at all such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe that since there is no proof in the Bible of Jesus’ birth date, it should not be commemorated on December 25th at all. They further believe that Christmas is not approved by God, because it is rooted in pagan customs and rites.

Pastor Virginia Pinto of Cornerstone Tabernacle joins the discussion reminding us that we are almost at the end of the year and that with it comes the so called festive season.

“For Christians we call the holidays Christmas time and others prefer to say happy holidays.

Whichever you choose to call it everyone agrees that it is a lovely time to meet with friends and family, travel home, wherever that might be and just have a relaxing time.

However as Christians this should be a time of reflection on what Christ means to us.

We are so aware of the commercialisation of Christmas as shops begin to advertise as early as October, Christmas carols are played over speakers in the malls around the world and the Christmas ‘season’ goes into high gear!

Christmas in reality should be a spiritual time for mankind, yet we find the exact opposite.  Christians too have jumped onto this bandwagon where some even have a holiday away from Church.

And so we give gifts at Christmas as a sign of love and in rememberance of the ultimate gift God gave. We have however allowed the idea of giving of gifts too, to become commercialised.

We spend money we don’t have, give gifts to impress and generally throw all caution to the wind forgetting that long after Christmas has come and gone we will still need to live.

You see, we can give without loving, but we can never love without giving.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of the expression of our love for each other just as God so loved the world that He gave his only Son.

Christmas is not the time to lavish expensive gifts upon each other but rather do an act of love to express the reason for the season.

Why not invite other people home for your Christmas lunch or make a lovely basket of groceries with a few extra items like sweets and cake, biscuits and colddrinks and give those to widows, orphans and others who are going through difficult times financially.

Let this Christmas be different, may it be a time of loving and giving.”

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