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Opinions of Friday, 25 December 2009

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

The Significance Of Christmas

Appiah Kusi Adomako, Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, Kumasi

Today, The Trumpet of Conscience wants to take a little departure from politics, social and economic issues and look at lighter issues.

Christmas Day, New Year Day and May Day are holidays celebrated worldwide with the exception of few countries. Christmas Day is so special that it is associated with many things. Volumes of sales go up during the period of Christmas. Businesses reach their peak during this period. It is the time that most businesses pay bonuses to their workers and also organise their get-together events. In the church, attendance reaches its peak as occasional church visitors come to church.

Today, as a result of commerce and materialism, the whole world’s mind has unconsciously been taken away from the significance of Christmas. Christmas means more than business and commerce. We are loosing the true meaning of Christmas as people and as a nation. It is still not too late for us to search and discover it. I would not want to get ourselves bogged down with the philosophical dimensions of Christmas. Christmas, by default is an occasion to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Long before Christ was born Isaiah the prophet wrote that ‘For a child is born, unto us a child is given. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. His ever expanding government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David’. What is so special about this Christ whose name has become such a dominant feature in everyday conversation? He came to split history in to BC and AD such that the reign of Caesar is dated after him.

All the four Gospels in the Hebrew New Testament give accounts of his birth that ‘some wise men from eastern lands’ traveled afar searching for the Christ to pay homage to him. Christ is the only begotten son of God, writes John Gospel. Apostle Paul also adds that ‘He is the visible image of the invisible God’. That is Christ is God in the flesh. He said that ‘I and the Father are one’. The birth of Christ symbolizes peace and joy to the world. One of his names is Prince of Peace. He said that ‘I am leaving you with a gift –peace of mind and the heart. And the peace I give is not like the peace of the world gives. So do not be troubled or afraid”. As a nation we need to use this period to seek peace and pursue it.

Our nation has become a benchmark and a plumbline for measuring democracy in Africa. Politics and freedom of speech is needed. We must use the insight, wisdom, and experience of Christmas as a balm for the wounds in our homes, our nation, and the world. We must forgive each other, redeem each other and move one. Like Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘forgiveness is the attribute of the strong; the weak person cannot easily forgive.’ Whether DFP, GCPP, CPP, NDC, NPP, we are all precious in God's sight.

This is what Christmas teaches us as nation. The life of Christ teaches us the need to give and to show love. The solution to all the problems in this sin infested world can be summed up in one called-Love. When the politician in Osu is in love with God, the poor boy in Ningo Prampram and his nation, he would not divert public funds for his private gain. When the quality control officer at Tema Industrial area is in love with his nation he would not permit the production staff to use maggot infested wheat to prepare biscuits to be consumed by God’s children.

Christmas is not only a period of festivity, eating, partying and rolling tambourines and trombones. It is a time for reflection and meditation. Life is lived forward but it is understood backwards. We need to set specific measurable targets which we want to achieve as individuals and also a nation. Christmas calls for the evaluation of the year. And perhaps the year 2009 might not have gone well for you but we must never give up on God. For we are only defeated when we give up on God. Experiences have informed us that life is an alloy of sorrows and joy, good and bad, day and night. All things work together for good for those who love God and are called by his name, writes Apostle Paul.

Another thing which Christmas tells us is that God can lift us from no where to somewhere. Christ was born in manger. He came from Nazareth. Can anything good come from Nazareth? Darlene Zschech, the Australian songwriter writes ‘...taken me from the miry clay set my feet upon the rock....’

In everything that we do for Christmas we must never forget about God and his begotten son Jesus Christ. And I am here to tell you today that we need God in our lives. We may not be able to explain God in philosophical terms. Modern man may know a great deal of science- but this cannot eliminate God. Unfortunately some few theologians are trying to say that God is dead. Notable among them are Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. What worries me is that they could not tell us when and where He died. He is an immortal being. His first and last names are the same: I AM that I AM. He has no beginning, no end. No time can contain him. Life without Christ is like drama with most of the decisive scenes missing. Like Saint Augustine ‘we were made for God and our life will be restless until we find rest in him’.

As I conclude this piece let us realize that Christmas is about him. It is a time for us to evaluate our lives according to the master plan of God. And as Rick Warren has beautifully summed up in his book Purpose Driven Life that life rests and revolves around Christ Jesus. Without this everything about life is meaningless chaos.

Joy to the world!

I wish all my dear readers Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year. For the best is yet to come. See you in 2010.

Appiah Kusi Adomako is an international freelance writer and the president of the Ghana Chapter of the Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation. He can be contacted through: appiahkusiy2k@yahoo.com or 024-212-5355