People usually look forward to a lot during the festive season. A break from work to enjoy time with our families. A number of people travel upcountry while others go shopping. It is usually a time for eating, drinking and merrymaking.

But is there more to Christmas than just the festivities?
“First and foremost, Christmas is a time to celebrate the salvation of humanity. We had lost hope from the beginning when man sinned.

But Jesus was born to take away the sin of man. Now, that should be our basis for celebrating Christmas,” says the Rev Canon Jonathan Kisawuzi, Entebbe Archdeacon.

Acknowledge Jesus
Furthermore, we not only celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas day, but this should be celebrated every day, as Jesus is born in us daily. “Thus, during this festive time, we pray and hope that Jesus is birthed in our lives, in our families and in our country,” the Rev Kisawuzi says.

He also says although it is a time to eat, drink and celebrate together – which is a good thing -, but even if we celebrate and eat but do not acknowledge and understand the reason for our celebration, all is in vain.”

Our reason for gathering, and going to church and eating and merrymaking should be that Jesus was born to be a hope to humanity, and that is what is beyond the festivities as we all enjoy this time.

Share some love
Isaac Sanyu, a church administrator at Kampala Church of Christ, Namirembe Road says beyond the festivities, Christmas is a time to share love for one another. “It is a time to reflect on the love that Jesus showed the world.

That I was lost, but because of Jesus’ birth, now I am found. It is a time to think about the reason why Christ was born.”

He also points out that this essence has been diluted by the ‘commercialisation’ of Christmas. “People can get together, drink and enjoy. But fail to even mention the central purpose of this day. Which is Jesus and salvation.”

You will realise though, that different people attach different meanings and interpretations to the festive season. Whereas to others it is a time to reflect on the finished work at the cross, to others, it’s a totally different story.

Frank Busobozi, a bar manager says, Christmas time means a profitability. “It’s a time when people spend big and party. To me that means working throughout the festive season. It’s a busy and hectic time for me, I reap pretty good.”

Are we losing the meaning of Christmas?
Wilson Kitondekigya, a pastor at Anointed Christian Centre Zzana, opines Christmas shouldn’t even be a big deal. “To me Christmas shouldn’t even be celebrated. Christ should be celebrated not only on a specific day called Christmas, but every day.”

He further mentions that the glamour around Christmas makes people more confused and puts them on pressure of how they will financially go through the festive season. So, they are sidetracked. “In actuality, Christmas time is among those days when people become hardhearted and more selfish,” he explains.

Joyce Nalubanja also agrees that there is more to Christmas than what people normally take it for. “We usually forget why we celebrate in the first place. We celebrate the birth of Jesus. A saviour that was born to the world.”

Background
Historically, the first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25 was in 336, during the time of the Roman emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25 December. (www.whychristmas.com)

But also the Bible in Matthew 1:1-23 records the birth of Jesus, and specifically, Matthew 1:21New King James Version “ And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So technically, that is the purpose of celebrating Christmas. Jesus’ birth and what that meant to the world - salvation from sin.