By Bola BOLAWOLE
We usually make the mistake – or is it assumption or overgeneralization – that Jesus Christ is the ONLY reason for the season, I mean the season of Christmas. This is not absolutely true.
Yes, Jesus was born – or, more appropriately, is assumed to have been born in December or, better still, on December the 25th. Not every Christian sect accepts this. There are those who, relying on astronomy, weather forecasts and other facts and statistics, insist that Christ could not have been born in December but more likely in October or early November.
The fact is that no one knows exactly the month when Jesus was born – whether October, November or December, not to talk of the day.
A month and day have, however, been chosen and that is what the world had celebrated from time immemorial.
There are debates also about the chosen date – it’s pagan and whatsoever origin and the identity of the figures and or personalities involved.
Recently, I have wondered why the Christian world had been, and still remains at a loss over the exact date of birth of Jesus Christ.
Didn’t Jesus himself teach us that the holy spirit will teach us or lead us into all truths?
Why, then, have we neglected to ask the holy spirit the very important question of the date of birth of Christ? Day, month and even year?
Has it escaped us to ask? Have we asked without receiving? Do we think it trivial? Settling the controversy once and for all – if possible – may not be a bad idea at all!
But I digress! To many, Jesus is reason for this season. To others, vanity is the reason – and very essence – of the season.
Eating, drinking and revelry is how many understand and celebrate this season.
Momentary repentance and penitence is the reason for the season for some others.
I remember my days as MD/Editor-in-chief at The Westerner Newsmagazine when I had to rub shoulders with politicians.
One of them said: From Monday to Saturday we go out there sinning. On Sunday we come to church to be penitent and beg for forgiveness of our sins. On Monday we resume our cycle of sinful activities again”!
The harsh economic realities of the time have clipped the wings of many; celebrations usually are less riotous these days than in times past.
You will hear people say: No money! “Ilu le”, meaning country hard. The times, really, are hard. Like Bob Marley crooned: Things are not the way they used to be/ I won’t tell no lie”
And we have to face the stark realities, which are that we know many more will still have to suffer/many more will have to die.
Can I tell you why? For as long as the Babylonian system under the APC/Muhammadu Buhari junta persists!
When we say things were not this bad we do not, however, mean things had always been rosy. The roots of today’s malaise go deep down into the soil.
The rains started beating us a long, long time ago. But with APC/Buhari it stopped raining and began to pour!
Jimmy Cliff warned us a long time ago that: Too many people are suffering” Why? Because “Too little people get everything while too many people get nothing”
Inequality is the name of the game. Unfair access to, and distribution of resources are its root cause or causes.
And for as long as this unjust production relations persist and are sustained, the world will know no peace, says Marley.
Prepare for war! Chairman Mao says: Do you want peace? Then, prepare for war! Sounds like contradiction but it is not when you study it closely.
Recent events tell us that the storms are gathering. The near lack of celebration this Christmas is another sad reminder.
“Ko s’owo”! There is no money! But there is money where there is money! Where it is least needed but they hoard it all the same in the most unusual of places, including cemetery and silos meant for grains! Where money is sorely needed is where it is scare.
In “Imitation of Christ” Thomas Akempis admonishes that before we do anything as Christians, we should first ask ourselves the question: What will Jesus do were he alive and he finds himself in this very position or situation?
What will Jesus do! This is a question, I dare to say, Christians seldom ask themselves these days.
Jesus was of lowly birth despite his divine nature. And throughout his life he maintained that lowly posture. Today, Christian leaders compete in ostentatious lifestyle. They amass fleets of aircraft while Jesus never owned an ass.
Jesus went about doing good. Today’s Christian leaders are not accessible any more, even to their own pastors. You write letters, you fill forms, you queue for months, you fast, vigil and pray to see them – no dice.
Jesus spoke truth to power. Today’s Christian leaders have joined the oppressors. They are now members of the same class with the oppressors. Many church leaders have put their hands in what they should not and are too scared to look the Nebuchadnezzars of today straight in the eyes.
Christ said, give to the poor. Christ said, set no store here but in heaven. Jesus said, never entangle yourself with the things of this world. Jesus said, feed my flock if you love me. Do justice, Brook no oppression.
The eternal reasons for this season is a reminder of who Jesus was – and still is – and what he stood for – and still stands for.
Wining and dining and revelry are fleeting and will pass away. Imitating Christ in all our daily living is the one everlasting good that remains sure for ever.
May the good Lord give us the grace to understand and do this not only in this season but beyond!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!