TRUE love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about but few have seen” – William Shakespeare.
The anthropocentric calculus posits that whether by centripetal or centrifugal diversions, man has become the monumental leverage on which the social-political, economic and cultural pendulum swings. Man has therefore created laws, principles, social mores, ethics, ceremonial commemorations and religious practices to enhance and concretise the basis of the ‘social contract’ of which ‘man’ are the cardinal focus, the Christmas day being one of them.
Christmas is the annual ceremonial commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ by Christians on December 25. The encyclopedia Americana posits in the 1977 edition, volume 6, page 666 that “the reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. The roman saturnalia (A festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun), also took place at this time, and some Christmas customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration.”
The exact day of Christ’s birth is still subsumed in controversy. However, notwithstanding the controversy surrounding this date, it is clear that Jesus Christ is the reason for the Christmas season. He remains the lucent diadem on the Christian’s armour. He gave us his all as the Son of the living God so that we might be salvaged from the labyrinth of eternal perdition. He explicitly sermonised on the laying down of our lives for one another through love and helping to fortify the basis of a common catholic humanity. He incarnated humility and warned against materialism and the psychotic love of money.
That the unblemished and innocent Jesus Christ was tortured, persecuted, executed and crucified for the sake of mankind lends credence to the fact that the Son of the living God loved us first. He came and was born out of love for us. He remains the quintessential reflection of love. He further admonished us to live and share our love with one another. He said in 1st john chapter 4 verses 20-21 that “if anyone say “I love God”, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anymore who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command. Whosoever loves God must also love his brother”. But whither goeth mankind and the commemoration of the glorious birth of our lord and Savour Jesus Christ.
Christmas has become a season for the satanic expression of boundless mercantilism syphiliation of morality, the luciferous rendition of the carols of commercialism and the baptism of financial nightmares and holocaust. The whole world is entangling in the zeitgeist of materialism. The reader’s digest asserted that “In 1999, America’s commercial exchanges during the Christmas season rose to 70 billion dollars, Canada 30 billion dollars, Britain 34 billion pounds and Australia 15 billion dollars. Africa and Asian countries are already following suit in this depraved and reckless commercialisation of Christmas.” The Christmas season has become one of the best commercially strategic period for manufacturers, wholesalers and merchants to new and grotesque Christmas carols blaring from music shops, churches and private houses. There is massive noise pollution.
The commercial hype is intensified with salesmen carrying large bags of Christmas knickknacks and souvenirs plying their trade on commuter buses and other public transport contraption. All these Christmas drama compels ‘parents to buy toys and shoes for their children and companies are compelled to invest heavily on corporate gifts as public relations gimmicks. The Father Christmas or grandfather frost is introduced to milk parents dry. There is monumental production sales and hypocritical exchange of gifts. The commercial debauchery is further compounded by the deadly bouts of revelry and saturnalian spree. This is accompanied by sexual carousals and shameless licentiousness. Is this what Christmas should be? Is this the way Christmas should be spent?
In the political hierarchy are political Executive, members of board, ministers, governors, commissioners, local government chairmen, political appointees, member of the judiciary and councilors, etc who have apotheosized corruption and have looted the treasury of the people jubilating in “thanksgiving services’ in various church for escaping with loots milking the people dry.
The religious leaders, especially Pentecostals pastors who are founder and sole owners of their churches will be very busy preaching the fear of hell fire and the dangers for not paying tithes. They then convert the tithes, vows, pledges and donations in acquiring the state of the art cars, jets and palatial edifices for themselves. The journalists, lawyers and policemen will all smile home with hampers and cash from politicians, clients and syndicated criminals. What a shame!
It is clear that Christmas has become completely demonised and sunken in the hot cauldron of commercialism. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour posited that, we can not serve God and mammon. The world is a state of moral degeneracy and cocooned in theatrical brummagem because of the greed, tenebrous and rancid hypocrisy inherent in our leadership echelon. How can we conscientiously say we are celebrating Christmas when poverty and disease have become the grandiloquent body guard of 99% of Nigeria and nay Africans. Do the poor know that it is Christmas? We live in a world of tragic contrast between the rich and the poor.
Finally as we celebrate Christmas in the frills of salaciousness and Christlessness, let us spare a thought for the poor in the world. Our celebration will be hollow if we cannot carry the poor along.
Mr. Bobson Gbinije, a social critic, wrote from Warri, Delta Sate.