When all that was left of the world was chaos and confusion, God chose not to destroy it, but instead sent his only begotten son to save the world. Jesus Christ would die on the cross for our sins to be forgiven and for the world to be saved. Jesus was born on a day that would be known to the world as Christmas Day.
“We celebrate this day to honor Jesus and his significance to us,” said Father Thabo Mampane of Lutheran Church.
But what is the real meaning of Christmas? As people go on holiday break to celebrate the birth of Christ, the actual meaning of Christmas is lost in the frenzy of merry making, partying and festivities. To some, Christmas is purely a time to give. In the world of today, this translates into spending exorbitant amounts shopping for gifts. Salaries are paid early in December; and people also take a break from work early. As a result they have ample time to spend, and end up in financial dire straits come January. But overspending in the name of giving can be avoided perhaps if proper consideration could be given to what giving really is and what it is for.
“Love should be at the centre of all gifts and they should be given in the name of Christ because Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ,” said Mampane.
He added that Christmas should not be about material things because practically speaking turkey dinners are not a reality for everyone.
“Imagine belonging to a family where Christmas is about showering each other with lavish gifts. It could wind up being a time of sorrow for those family members who don’t have much money,” he said.
Mampane said people should remember that Christ died on the cross for the world to be saved; he gave the world the ultimate gift, the gift of life. As such, said Mampane, this special gift should be cherished all the time and not just on Christmas day.
“Let us unlearn what we have learnt about Christmas and learn again. As long as an individual is surrounded by love they are rich. Love does not have to come as a pair of jeans or a bar of chocolate but rather as time spent with loved ones,” he said.
“Ideally Christmas is a season of great joy, it can be a time of healing and renewal. A time to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the coming year with renewed strength.”
Mampane said the birth of Jesus brought great joy into the world; a joy that was shared by shepherds, wise men and angels. For that reason Mampane said people should be content with realizing the love that descends on the world from heaven on Christmas Day.
“We need to move away from spending too much and forgetting that January will come. To not have enough money for school fees and other essentials just because of the euphoria placed on this day is very sad because the opposite should be the case,” Mampane said.
People can truly be happy on Christmas no matter what may be happening in their lives. Just knowing that they are God’s children should bring joy to their lives.
“Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a merry Christmas. The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met,” said Mampane.