Christmas Countdown: It is a spiritual, not a material preparation

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[Yei, South Sudan, TCT] The clock is ticking; the dates of December are moving fast; and the year is running down with often some special ceremonies for closure with Christmas and opening of a New Year. However, it’s worth noting that as Christmas and New Year celebrations approach, tendencies of material preparations are high. Though churches continue to spiritually prepare for Christians during the advent season, the material acquisitions are not avoided for many of them. Many children and women cry for clothes to wear and for delicious food to eat on these days.


Meeting the Needs

When children keep pleading for their needs, the father or mother spend sleepless nights and restless day to find them. But, in case money is lacking, the parents still endure till the days pass. Materials bought for Christmas celebrations could serve the family for weeks or months. Unfortunately, they are spent within a day or days. The current economic crisis is a biting one that should encourage families to avoid such exorbitant spending. After all, Christmas isn’t all about dressing in new clothes and shoes, dancing a disco, or spending time to get drunk, then due to high demands, which sometimes lead to some families ending in fighting, quarrels and even in worse scenarios of divorce.


What MAY work right?

During the advent, the walls of the houses are also mopped with decorations and writings depicting Christmas and the New Year. There are also some writings like, “Jesus is the Savior. He’s born on Christmas. Happy Christmas and New Year, then may it bring peace and prosperity.” A lot of them are just written on decorated walls. Also, during Christmas and New Year, very colorful flowers are also displayed at homes or churches. They symbolize the birth of Jesus and also the New Year. For the New Year, Christians thank God for His ongoing protection and guidance, and churches hold special prayers to mark the day. These are two joyful days, and I think the few examples mentioned are what symbolize them. The Christmas that we now celebrate is the rebirth of God’s only son, the Savior baby Jesus Christ in our hearts. His real birth happened thousands of years ago.

“Make his paths straights”

Dear South Sudanese, let us consider the Word of God as we prepare for Christmas. Before Mary conceived of Jesus, John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness. He says in Matthew 3:2-3, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” Our country South Sudan, is currently facing economic crisis and conflict. Not everyone can afford to purchase lots of materials to celebrate in this festive seasons, and not everyone is waiting for Christmas peacefully. Others are going hungry each day and others running in the bushes to escape for their dear lives. Our social cohesion is challenged. We are deeply divided on ethnic lines. Therefore, we must stop ethnic division, hate speech, and targeted killings. Celebrating Christmas should be more of admitting our sins, then abandoning them while loving ourselves more and sharing our burdens. In this way, we can make the paths for Jesus coming, very smooth. So, let us not burden ourselves with what is not mentioned in the Bible. It’s fine that we have taken other constructive steps like displaying good writings, decoration, and also cleaning our environments. Still, food is needed on each day because it is a usual fuel of the body, but it should be according to one’s normal capacity. The stress of not eating delicious meal on that day should not overcome anyone.

True Meaning

The applause goes to families that value the spirit of sharing the little they have with their poor brothers and sisters. Most importantly, attending service, listening to the Word of God and spreading it to the rest of humanity is the most important thing every Christian needs to do. Otherwise, being satisfied with all sorts of food and being immersed in different types of cool-or-hot drinks, without spreading the Good News of the salvation brought by Christ is contrary to the real Christmas intention.


Side Tracked

Another aspect of misusing the celebrations is involvement in criminal activities, leading some to end up in prison. According to government officials, once a misbehaving person is arrested during the Christmas season, he or she will enjoy the joyful season in the cells and the case will be sorted out after. So as we prepare to mark these days, we should be very meticulous in our preparations and mark it in peace, not in pieces. I urge everyone to celebrate peacefully, with not stressed of unnecessary demands, but with focus on Jesus in your heart.

Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

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