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Opinions of Monday, 26 December 2016

Columnist: Avornyo, Bright Selasie Yao

Celebrate Christmas to glory Christ Jesus

It is not bad for one to celebrate an anniversary. The celebration of an anniversary has become a shadow of human realities. In other words, anniversaries have become a fabric of our everyday lives. Anniversaries – whether big or small – are celebrated to commemorate an occasion or to remind one another of an event in the past.

Some people celebrate birthdays. Others celebrate even death in honour of their decease. Organisations celebrate all sorts of anniversaries – be it silver or golden jubilee among others.

In this present age, however, I have experienced a lot of double standards. I have seen hypocrisy exalted as a virtue. I have seen man become a ‘god’ of his own creating a new world of realities altogether. I have seen man become more illiterate even in attempt to become wiser. I have seen wisdom mistaken for folly. I have seen folly glorified as wisdom.

What is so demonic about Christmas that one cannot happily celebrate? Well, may I apologise that I have just forgotten that we are living in a time and day where everybody recreates his own world of possibility. That notwithstanding, William Shakespeare says it all; the world is a stage and we are all actors, so to speak.

The most suffered celebrated anniversary I know is Christmas. It is the most demonised celebration ever. The ardent critics of Christmas are from within. The critics are not veiled. They are unveiled. The critics are not Muslims, whom by their Islamic teachings and beliefs do not believe in the divinity of the Christ Jesus. The critics are Christians who go to church on weekends – be it Saturdays or Sundays. What an irony?

The Christians who oppose the celebration of Christmas are of the view that the bible does not order any Christmas celebration of a sort. Again they argue that Christmas was started as a pagan festivity which has now been transmogrified to mean a Christian celebration. Whatever the views of the critics, I think they are entitled to their considered opinions. Let us leave the rest to the Author life, the all-knowing God, to tell who is right or wrong.

However, it is very pathetic to note that the critics, who oppose the celebration of Christmas, really celebrate Christmas in hiding. Traders, who belong to the critics, sell a lot of items that are used for the Christmas festivity. One can count sacks of rice in the stores of these traders. What about the boutique traders? The list is endless.

As a matter of fact, the glorious celebration of Christmas not only makes the bitterest loser of a competition like an election smile but also greatly in one way or the other raises awareness about the fact that once in the existence of man, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men as recorded in John 1:14a.

The book of Isaiah 9:6 rightly puts it ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Is that not a good news to celebrate?

For our sake, the saviour Jesus Christ was born and given to us as one of our own. He has a government of which we are all dignitaries – a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; 1 Peter 2:9. O come on. Let us celebrate Christmas.

Righteousness and justice are more profound during the Christmas festivity. Thus it is during Christmas that disobedience is punished and obedience is rewarded. It is during Christmas that stubborn goats and sheep which have become rather unruly exalting themselves above their master’s authority are slaughtered to reward hard work.

Through Christmas, the message about the birth and death of our Lord Jesus Christ is preached. We get to know more about Jesus and what His assignment was and is still on the earth.

In my last year’s article entitled ‘Christmas is no evil,’ I mentioned that the daughter of a Hindu Priest, who became a Christian and now zealously preaching salvation through Jesus Christ, got to know about the name Jesus through Christmas cards.

Through Christmas, the poorest neighbour, whom by some ‘divine’ or human orchestration eats rice once in a year only, gets the opportunity to smile again.

Through Christmas, loved ones, whom economic soldiers might have chased away from their lands of birth in search of greener pastures, get free visa to visit home again. They get reunited with their family members and enjoy the pride of being a king once in their lifetime.

Though Christmas, as workers, we get to know how much our bosses appreciate our services. The generous boss – whether Christian or not - greatly appreciates his workers, who have toiled with him through thick and thin. Some employees get their salaries doubled and in addition carry bags of rice home. Others also appreciate their workers in many other ways depending on their budgets. However, there are some bosses, for me, who are very stingy. Such bosses do not care about rewards. They believe in slavery. At least I know of one. Anyway, let it be as it is.

This year I had the privilege to join the staff and management of Immanuel Academy Remedial School to put a smile of the faces of our remedial candidates. There was a little get-together as we broke for the Christmas holidays. The students went home feeling excited that they were honoured by the academy. Their excitements reminded me of Ghana’s songstress Efya’s lyrics ‘the little things that you do, makes me love you the more’

Through Christmas, pockets of the Ghanaian people, which late President Mills had promised to put money into but could not do so in the end and have sadly remained cursed with only coins, can also smile to notes again. Even if it’s the red note, at least, they have had the opportunity to experience what it is like to have money.

If we stop the celebration of Christmas, how can generations yet unborn come to the realisation that forgiveness, love, peace, sharing of gifts with one another among others are the things that define the character of Jesus Christ?

To be or not to be is of no essence on Judgment Day. God will never condemn anyone on the basis of whether one celebrates Christmas or not. God will instead judge the intention behind our actions. God will be looking at whether our actions or inactions glorified his glorious name or not.

On the whole, those of us who celebrate Christmas must be guided by the righteousness and justice of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the sinful natures or desires of the flesh that characterises the celebration of Christmas but vehemently spoken against in Galatians 5:19 is wild parties. Christmas is not when big jams are held and a lot of nudity is glorified. Christmas is not when sex becomes the cheapest commodity under the market shed. Christmas is not when Christ is ousted and the devil is glorified.

Christmas is what we do as Christians to show to the world that we are indeed the light of the world. We must show God’s sort of definition of love as stated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-10. Christmas is when we save a soul who is on the way to the slaughter house. Let us celebrate Christmas to glorify the unadulterated name of our Lord Jesus who is King. In this way, we are denying our critics of making any sound argument.

If the least must be done, then I want to wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

The writer is Bright Selasie Yao Avornyo, the public relations officer of Immanuel Academy Remedial School which is located at Osu Presby Boys Primary School. His email is: allknowing00@yahoo.com