Bring back 'Christ'mas
For the longest time, Christmas has stopped being about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Looking on the television at the commercials it seems more a time for bargains, parties and just having fun. The name of the season has even been shortened, eliminating 'Christ' from it altogether, as many people refer to it as 'Xmas'.
When children anticipate the approaching season, their excitement is powered with the thought of receiving toys and the latest gadgets.
This raised the question: If the church somehow fell down in doing a good job of telling and retelling the Christmas story to succeeding generations. Should it be held accountable for the shift in focus regarding the real 'reason for the season'?
Family and Religion reached out to Zebulah Aiken, pastor of the Miracle Tabernacle Free Town Church of God of Prophecy, who expressed the view that the complaints about the commercialisation of Christmas is nothing new.
For her, it would be a tall reach to place the blame squarely on the Church. "The Church would have had to fall down over 1,000 years ago," she said with a smile as she recalls a television show in the mid-60s titled A Charlie Brown Christmas which was aimed at highlighting the real meaning of Christmas.
"Even then, there was the complaint that too little emphasis was being placed on the true meaning and more on commercial activities," she noted.
Bringing the business element and entrepreneurial spirit into the mix, Aiken said vendors and business persons capitalising on the season is not such a bad thing.
"Booming businesses and great sales transfer into food being put on the table for many who need a break. Some have been selling with minimal turnover and if things pick up during this season for them, then that transfers into a happier family," she reasoned.
"They have mouths to feed and, to be truthful, the activities will boost the economy and there can be nothing wrong about that," Aiken continued.
Although she holds the opinion that the Church cannot be faulted for the shift in focus on the true meaning of Christmas, there are some traditions she wished all churches would continue to embrace.
The pastor points out that back in the day, when it came to the Christmas season, it would be the norm for many to mount Christmas programmes, with children reciting poems, singing songs, and performing skits, all based around the birth of Jesus.
"That would have gone a long way in keeping the message fresh every year. I think the Church needs to get back to basics where that is concerned," she said, adding that it was also a means of retelling the story.
On the topic of buying gifts and making a splash, Aiken said that, too, is certainly nothing new as, she quipped, from the day Jesus was born that tradition started! "Remember the wise men came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gifts are also a way of showing appreciation and love," she said.
According to Aiken, gift doesn't even have to be something purchased, there are persons who would dearly love to enjoy your company," she said. In concluding, she said that this Christmas, Christendom should embrace the opportunity to use the occasion to make a difference.