Issue No. 06/2020 – Monday, 07 December 2020 (Kitiona Tausi)
It will another just more than two weeks before Christmas time and the spirit of the Christmas Season has already begun. Different groups and congregations from different churches have already begun their programme of visiting their elders, the sick and babies.
Last week the Vaiaku EKT Church Choir visited the patients at the Princess Margaret Hospital as well to the elders and babies. The visit was completed yesterday, visiting few babies and elderlies at their home and finally to the church’s commissioned minister, Rev Elder Penitusi Taeia. The visit was accompanied by Christmas carols singing.
Most Christians today probably can’t imagine Christmas on any other day than December 25, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence, Jesus Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all. The religion’s most significant holidays were Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus’ birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honoring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D.
But was Jesus really born on December 25 in the first place? Probably not. The Bible doesn’t mention his exact birthday, and the Nativity story contains conflicting clues. For instance, the
presence of shepherds and their sheep suggest a spring birth. When church officials settled on December 25 at the end of the third century, they likely wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals honouring Saturn (the Roman god of agriculture) and Mithra (the Persian god of light). That way, it became easier to convince Rome’s pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion.
Christmas Festival is the biggest day to be celebrated world-wide and in many more countries than any other festival. It has been celebrated in Tuvalu for an over a century and still is the biggest day of celebration in all Tuvalu islands.
We celebrate it because we do honour and respect the birthday of Jesu Christ who is the Saviour of the world. With all the current threats to the wellbeing of the world’s citizens, Jesus Christ is our Saviour.