By Muwulya Moses, Aaron Sseruyigo
The birth of Jesus Christ means a lot, and as Ugandans join the rest of the Christians in the World to celebrate Christmas, they need to keep the “Christ” in Christmas and honor the birth of a savior in the right way.
Church leaders have raised concern over the “non Christian way” in which Ugandans celebrate Christmas, failing to focus on the Holy reason for the day.
According to Church leaders, largely, Christmas has been secularized and commercialized, sidelining the divine perspective of the day, which mocks and distorts the holy meaning of the reason as to why the Son of God, the author of Life and giver of eternal life is born.
West Buganda Bishop, Henry Katumba Tamale notes that the scenes of people drinking to death, police cells getting full as many end up being arrested for engaging in crime, and more anti Christ behaviors dominate the Christmas season.
“It is a dismay to see Christians celebrating Christmas in such a non Christian style which is far away from what would have been the core meaning of the birth day of a savior,” Notes the Man of God
He says that such acts manifest that people could not be in the know or focusing on the real reason as to why Jesus Christ was born and given to us and thus they celebrate for different reasons.
“Much as it is Jesus to clean our hearts, He has to find them clean, because unlike the very first Christmas, where people did not, but now we know because the Gospel is already there and thus Jesus should have found our heart clean,” Shares Bishop Katumba
He further notes that some Christians, whether knowingly or not, write Christmas as ‘ X mass’, but he says the big ‘X’ means Christ is cancelled.
Others, he says call it festive season instead of Christmas season which is intended to distort the Holy meaning of the day, saying that such are the shrewd ways used by those who are anti Christ and want to derail the effort to get people out of Christianity
But how would a true Christian celebrate Christmas?
Know why Jesus was born and sent to us: Pastor Jack Wellman, of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansasa in United States, emphasizes that while celebrating, Christians need to put focus on why Jesus was born.
The senior writer at What Christians Wants to know wrote that while knowing that Jesus was born is good, it is paramount to understand the exact reason why Jesus came.
He notes that in Galatians 4:4-5, Paul writes about the reason that Jesus came at “the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).
At one time we “were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world” (Gal 4:3) so the “why” of Jesus’ coming was to make our adoption possible (Eph 1) and finally able to be called the sons and daughters of God (Gal 4:6).
Give Christ a room in your heart: Bishop Henry Katumba shares that after knowing the really reason as to Jesus was born, Christians would then celebrate Christmas by giving Him a room into their hearts and allow Him to be born afresh, if they had given their life to Him as a savior.
Keep it Biblical, by trying to keep Christ in Christmas: Pastor Wellman, shares that one can read the story of the nativity but go back even before Jesus was born, before Mary conceived.
One can read the many prophecies of Jesus (Isaiah 7, 53; Micah, Psalm 22, 23) found in the Old Testament. Then turn to the New Testament and read about the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 and then Luke 2:1-20).
Watch a Biblical Movie about the Christmas Story: There are some very good Christian movies about the birth of Jesus Christ. Some are very biblically accurate. Many Christmas movies can also bring more meaning to Christmas by focusing on the reason we celebrate Christmas, particularly those that bring the focus to Jesus Christ.
Give God a Gift: You surely know about the three gifts the kings or wise men (magi) brought so why not bring your own gift to Christ as Lord and King?
Bishop Katumba notes that Christmas is a time when people tend to be more generous to those who are not as well off and give them gifts. He says one can visit hospitals and prisons and give them gifts.
However, Rev.Julia Katumba Tamale, notes that such gifts should not be given for the purpose of getting something back, but rather reflect the graciousness of our God who has given us the greatest gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. One can buy gifts for a family in the church or in your neighborhood that doesn’t have enough
Listen to the Christmas Songs: What make the Christmas season so special are the Christmas songs about Christ. However there many secular Christmas songs but specific ones about the arrival and birth of Christ Who came to save us from our sins and the wrath of God must be considered.
Songs like “What Child is This,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and “Joy to the World.” These songs point to the Person of Christ and bring out the “Christ” in Christmas.
According to Arch-pastor of Praise Ministries Ntinda, Christmas should remind Christians how the Word of the Lord came to a teenager, noting that the same favor she received is present to every Christian today.
“It is also amazing that the same Word came to a hundred year old by the names of Abraham – He called them – God is not limited by age.. He can favor the young as much as he does for an old person,” he says.
“Mary wondered how conception would happen yet she was a virgin! It doesn’t matter whether you have no connections in life. When God says you are highly favored – its because He has already brought the connection,” he adds.