To Christians, Christmas is a day to honour and celebrate Jesus’ birth. They go to church to praise God, sing Christmas carols and perform short plays about Jesus’ birth. After that they dine with family and friends. What is it to the rest of us? Is it just a public holiday?
While Botswana is a Christian country, only devoted Christians know the real meaning behind the Christmas day. The rest of us just celebrate this day by cruising across the world, visiting friends and relatives, partying up a storm, attending weddings. That is the essence of Christmas to us. The question is, do we celebrate this day for its significance or is it just another public holiday? What is our view, as Batswana, of Christmas?
Matlhogonolo Bene feels Christmas is a time to be with family and take a breather away from one’s usual surroundings. To her it is important because it is the only vacation that has the longest days.
For many Batswana, Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, buying presents for children and relatives and later spending the whole day cooking good food. In short, it is a time for merriment in the family.
Here is a question: while we spend Christians eating good food, buying presents and spending time with loved ones, don’t we forget about our less fortunate fellow countrymen like, for example the poor and the children on the streets? Can’t they at least get that privilege of eating a decent meal provided by us?
We are contradicting ourselves because, while we call it a season of love and giving, we only love those who we have always loved, and forget about those who are in need of love. Those who cannot get love anywhere, and those who have never been loved.
As for the Christians, they attend church services, praising the lord, giving and exchanging presents with only their fellow church members. The gap still remains. Ordinary Batswana and Christians are alike in this instance because they all neglect the orphans and the street kids.
Going to church on Christmas is tradition. But not knowing the significance of going there on this particular day is blatant ignorance.
Like I have already said, Christmas days are full of excitement, as everyone goes home to see their families and loved ones. Many actually go to the extent of taking leaves prior to the Christmas holiday in order to extend this period of excitement.
But the fact is that, instead of honouring the son of god, we engage in disgusting acts like drinking liquor. Around this time car accidents, break-ins, thefts and rape are prevalent. This is because we have the wrong perception of Christmas. If we knew what Christmas meant then there could be no accidents, no thefts, and no rapes.
Christmas has, to many of us, become a period of error and sin, when we over spend in a frenzy to try and satisfy our loved ones, just because we haven’t seen them in a very long time.
Workers get bonuses, while others get back pays. This means that a lot of money is at our disposal, triggering excitement and overspending.
Shops also target customers because they know that they have a lot of money. Furniture shops, for example, usually advertise that during the festive season you can buy anything and not pay until the next year. This traps people into debts because they spend recklessly thinking it’s the right thing to do. Are Batswana really Christians or are we just following what the rest of the world is doing?