"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

25 December 2016

It’s Christmas; what are you celebrating? Think twice!

Santa Claus on the move
Every 25th December, the ‘world’ celebrates Christmas, which according to some Christians was the day Jesus was born. Thus, I wasn’t surprised when my son’s primary school invited us for their 2016 Nativity Play. Nativity is the stage performance of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. This year's Play was acted by pupils between the ages of 5 & 7.

On the day of the Play, the school hall was filled with parents from different backgrounds. There were Muslims in Hijab, Hindus, white parents, black parents, Japanese and etc. Some Chinese people sitting in the front roll were so cheerful and very eager for the Play to start. I wondered why the excitement.

Everyone in the hall brought out his/her mobile phone getting ready to video the enactment of the birth of Jesus. And I doubted if these different practices knew that that was why we were there.

However, when the Play started the pupils were so happy to put in their best performance in order to mesmerise us as promised by their head-teacher. Aha! Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus were acted by 2 Chinese pupils. That explains why their parents were so keen for the Show to start. And truly, the children trilled everyone with their presentation.

As the Play ended and we were about to go home, a boy of Indian heritage invited my son to his Christmas party. This boy belongs to Hindu religion. At that point I started suspecting that these children may not know what Christmas stands for or that it means different thing to different people.

On my way home, I branched at a supermarket and at the till, two Asians who were Muslim and Hindu respectively, joyfully welcomed with merry Christmas greetings. I told them that I don’t celebrate Christmas. They were surprised and they jointly asked; don’t you have children? I said I have. Then you must celebrate Christmas because children love it, one of them said. But Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, I informed them. One of them replied, but not anymore. Well, that’s their perception of Christmas.

At home, I asked my son what Christmas meant to him; he didn’t utter a word, but he looked at me and laughed. Does it mean that he doesn’t know? But we just came out from a Play about the birth of Jesus. A few minutes later, he asked me; is Santa real?

Okay; Santa Claus is what he understands by Christmas. He’s not alone in this belief. Every child in Europe associates Christmas with Santa. To answer his question; Santa is not real. It’s a fable. In European tradition, Santa gives presents to good Children on every 25th December.

Obviously in schools, these boys and girls are not taught that Jesus was born on Christmas day. And it’s a fact that Jesus wasn’t born in December.

Even the Jesus Nativity Play may not have happened. Archaeologists discovered a Nativity scene in Egypt, which happened 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus. The scene showed a father and mother standing over a son in the presence of some animals and a star in the east; suspiciously similar to the nativity of Jesus I must say.
"The reddish rock art found in a small cave within the Sahara desert, shows a mother and father stood over a newborn, with animals present and a star in the east" - MailOnline
Besides, most Christians have accepted that Jesus couldn’t have been born in December. The bible gave a hint about when Jesus was born. Shepherds were in the fields. But today (December) in Bethlehem and its surroundings, animals are kept indoors because it’s too cold to take them out. In other words, shepherds are not in the field and thus, Jesus was not born in December.

According to HistoryToday, “it was a public holiday celebrated around December 25th in the family home. A time for feasting, goodwill, generosity to the poor, the exchange of gifts and the decoration of trees. But it wasn’t Christmas. This was Saturnalia, the pagan Roman winter solstice festival. Exactly what Christmas is all about today.

Nevertheless, when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire; the Roman Catholic converted the pagans to Christianity with the promise that they keep their practices.

From thence, as one scholar noted; they replaced the worship of Sun with the Worship of Son. And thus, the rebirth of the sun god was substituted with the birth of ‘son of God’ (Jesus). In 529 A.D, thereafter, Emperor Justinian declared 25th December as an official Christmas holiday.

Although Christmas has been commercialised, it is no longer left to Christians alone, but you could inadvertently be celebrating the birth of the Romans’ sun god (winter solstice) when you decorate your Christmas tree, feasting and exchanging gifts, etc.

Finally, Africans have been celebrating this lie that Jesus was born on 25th December for a very long time. Now that the truth is out, and it is once more Christmas; what are you celebrating? “…but as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.

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