Christmas and the Celebration of Materialism by Apostle Azemobor Gregory.
Christmas day celebration all over the world is typically heralded by an unusual beehive of commercial activities. Many people, Christians and non-Christians, alike, go out of their ways to engage in what could be aptly termed “ a shopping-mania”.
A visit to most markets and shopping malls across the world would reveal an avalanche of persons trooping out in their multitude to buy almost everything, from food items, clothes, to decorative accessories, the list is endless.
Of course, the greatest beneficiaries of this season of profuse mercantile activities are the various businesses who offer their products to meet the needs of yuletide shoppers, while the enterprise owners smile to the bank with loads of profit.
This piece is not intended to dwell on the gale of the brouhaha surrounding the ‘religious correctness’ of Christmas as the actual day Christ was born or the biblical validation of the celebration by Christ himself and his apostles. And just recently, some religious bigwigs in Nigeria have openly denounced the commemoration of Christmas even though, over the years they have been major protagonists of the charade. But one is not moved by their ignominious volte-face!
Be that as it may, however, my focus here is to exhume the pietism of this vain religious invention called Christmas and also to expose the capitalist underbelly of yuletide. It is unambiguously clear to any discerning mind that the Christmas celebration is now more of a capitalist tool for merchandising and aggressive profiteering, than an ecclesiastical event to mark the nativity of Jesus Christ and the ideals he lived and died for. The archetypal lifestyle that Christ exemplified and the consummate nobility of his message of love and brotherhood to mankind are relegated to the background while capitalist proclivity, self-indulgence, and the pursuit of vanity typify the commemoration of Christmas.
So, it is important to assert here that although Christmas was originally a creation of religion and marked as an annual ritual, but over the years, the capitalist hawks have hijacked the events and turned it into a jamboree of commerce and racketeering. The Christian community (the chief celebrant) that is supposed to reinforce the message of Christmas is itself lost in vain rhetoric of sermonizing on the essence of Christmas without concrete exemplification of love and brotherhood.
During this period many clergymen and women are quick to pontificate on the need to give, share and show love to one another especially the vulnerable and the less privileged, but meanwhile, the focus of their religious activities centers on vain rituals to consummate the celebration. They would rather prefer to spend a huge amount of money on renovating and beautifying their temples, adorning them with fanciful trees, glittering lighting, flowers, and all sort of decorations to spice up the celebration than to channel such resources to massively alleviate the sufferings of their poor members.
This hypocritical grandstanding of these so-called ‘men of God’ characterizing Christmas is completely antithetical to the teachings of Christ. And so if Christians have lost the essence of Christmas, what do you expect from non-Christians? I watched with keen interest happenings around me, this past Christmas, and it is sad to note that as usual, the event was all about self-indulgence.
Many people were more concerned about satiating their wanton desires than to spare any thought for the downtrodden and the vulnerable. And I wondered if Christ were to be on earth today, how would he have celebrated his birthday? Would he have lavished money on buying expensive clothes, spend a fortune on decorating his abode, or host his rich friends and associates to a lavish dinner party? Your guess is as good as mine.
I am sure the linchpin of his birthday party would have been the poor and the less privilege. He would have hosted them to a feast of merriment, to give them a sense of hope and succor. Let me enjoin all those of you celebrating greed and materialism garbed in the cloak of Christmas to desist from using the name of Christ to ratify this perfidy.
You know that you are celebrating yourself and not Christ, and so why this self-delusion of paying obeisance to the nativity of Christ. You hypocrite! You better leave Christ out of your wolfish escapade. Let me reiterate, that Christ is not the author of Christmas, neither is the event designed to mark his birthday. Christmas is a falsity that was designed as a Christian religious ritual, which has now been largely hijacked by capitalist forces of greed and mercantilism. Christ had forewarned his disciples that, “on that day many will come to me saying, Lord Lord, we did this in your name, we did that in your name, and I will say to them get thee behind me ye workers of iniquity”. I am sure Christ had the Christmas in mind when he made this allusion.
In closing, let me leave a word of advice to my fellow ‘Christians’. If truly you want to celebrate the birthday of Christ, your Lord and Saviour, do the following: Let it be a time of sacrifice on your part to make others happy and not a season of egotism and materialism.
Let the admonition of Christ guide your conduct as you celebrate the yuletide: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’Those that have ears let them hear!
Apostle Azemobor Gregory is a messenger of Truth and the founder of Azemobor Gregory Foundation, a charity organization promoting the cause of humanity.
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