How would you feel if you had lots of goodies on your birthday? Cakes, chocolates, gifts, all shades of rice from jollof to fried including coconut, ice cream, chicken and every delicious treat you can imagine? Your friends even get so excited about your birthday that they throw parties in their own houses to mark your birthday. They give gifts, show love to others, and have mementoes, ornaments and figurines of you in their aisles and on their office desks. Everybody is happy at your birthday; an epic celebration. It’s so grand, the world adopts it as an annual fanfare.
What manner of birthday would it be however if there is so much merriment and everybody forgets whose birthday it is? They dream up fictitious characters like Santa Claus, Kriss Kringle, Rudolph the-cute-red-nosed Reindeer, the snowman and so many ‘lovable people’. Tee shirts, mugs, greeting cards, TV commercials, carols, movies, billboards, beverage bottles, eateries and even recharge cards, everywhere you turn, you see their cute faces and you wonder why these ‘lovable people’ are getting all the attention and mention when it’s your own birthday!
Guess what? This is what we do at Christmas!
“Merry Christmas”, we say. And it is probably the only season or celebration with ‘Merry’ as a prefix to its salutation, attesting to the widespread occurrence of feasting during the season. We feast on food, drinks, parties, excitement and all manner of entertainment. Happy Easter, Happy New Year, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Workers’ Day, Happy Independence Day, Happy Anniversary, Happy Holidays, Happy Birthday but Christmas must be ‘Merry’.
Whilst this piece is not meant to rain on your party and acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with merriment, the world has gone askew with the commercialisation of the birth of Jesus. Gnostics, Atheists, Scientologists and Christians all indulge in the excitement without necessarily giving reverence to Jesus whom we celebrate.
Jesus Christ was born to execute a very special mission. A mission that led to our salvation and redemption. He died for all of us, including those of us whose ancestors had not even been born at the time. Our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer deserves more than just the usual display of red-coated decorations, carols and seasonal eccentricities. Some even say December 25th cannot be His birthday without a shadow of doubt. That the original Roman calendar had 10 months and its structure had changed so much over time, it would be difficult to pin Jesus’ birth to an exact date. Others say Jesus was born while shepherds watched their flock in the field by night, an indication that it could not have been in the winter (or December) since the weather would not allow that. Without going into the murky waters of accurate date of birth; and since December 25th is widely accepted as the day to mark His birth, can we kindly go ahead and mark His and only His birth? There is no wrong day to spread the Good News of the birth of the King.
So while feasting and making merriment with family and friends, don’t forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. Let us not only put Christ back into CHRISTmas but also put Christ back into our lives.
by: Seun Aregbesola