Let’s spend Christmas with the poor around us

Deo Mushi

In 1999, I celebrated Christmas in Turin, northern Italy where I had been invited by a friend. By then I was a student at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, so I had to travel 695 kilometers by bus to reach my destination.

When I arrived there, I found my friend and his family in a controversy, as the children were discussing which best shops they would go for shopping. While others wanted to do shopping in one particular shop in the neighbourhood, others wanted to travel as far as Milan city, where there were better options.

To solve the matter amicably, the children were finally taken to do shopping from the shops of their preference to buy clothes and other personal effects of their interest both in Turin and Milan.

Having spent Christmas in that foreign land, I then travelled to Tanzania three days later, and for the New Year celebrations I had already arrived at my own village Singa Kibosho, Moshi in Kilimanjaro region, where I found a different case all together, compared to what I had seen in Torino.

At home that day, a single mother had come to seek help from my mother Mariana, to enable her feed her children. She had nothing to cook for her children that day. That poor woman just wanted a portion of maize flour and some edible oil to cook for the family.

My mother did not just give the flour she needed, but also gave her half of the loaf of bread that I had bought in Moshi town for breakfast that particular morning. The poor woman was very happy that day, and she shared that happiness with whoever she met.

As we celebrate Christmas today, the nativity of Jesus Christ there are some things that we should take into consideration, to make the day benefits the community as a whole, and that is, making those living near us enjoy the day.

For many people in today’s world unfortunately, Christmas is a time of sorrow, as they didn’t have money to buy clothes and good food for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmas time when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons.

Pilau, Ndafu, Machalari and other types of foods may be only a wish and not a reality for some. Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy, as it is a time of God showing his great love to the entire humanity.

It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ the Child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to humanity. Shepherds, wise men and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event.

They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child. History books affirm that the original Christmas story was not an easy read. An engaged couple, shunned by many who knew them for what was imagined to be an immoral union and a premature pregnancy, was forced to make a long, arduous journey just before the young woman’s baby was due.

As if that wasn’t enough, by the time they reached their destination, they were unable to find a comfortable room where they could rest. Instead, they were forced to take shelter in a stable, with only the animals as their companions. When the woman’s child was born, she wrapped Him and laid Him in a manger or feed trough.

That child, with such an inauspicious entrance into the world, would change the entire course of that world, though none but shepherds came to honor Him at the time. Wise men from the East also came to pay homage to the boy, but not until a couple of years later.

The baby’s birth was lonely and humble, possibly even frightening and certainly painful for the young woman who bore Him. But God saw it all—every moment, every tear, every cry—for He had purposed it from the beginning.

A sinless baby would be born to redeem mankind on a dark, lonely night that would be celebrated for centuries to come. Is there any reason to think that the God who looked down upon that seemingly unremarkable first Christmas would not still look down on those in poor and humble circumstances, extending His love and care through the people who claim to belong to Him?

Christmas is a joyous time for many, but for those of us who know the One who is the true meaning and purpose of Christmas, it is more than that. It is indeed a celebration of His coming and the gifts He extended in the process.

Yet it is also a time to reach out to the poor and needy among us and extend God’s love in every possible way we can. Because Jesus helped people who were poor, sick, and afflicted, some want to follow his example.

They feel that the best time to do that may be Christmas, when charities often put forth extra effort to collect donations. During the holidays, many people are preoccupied with shopping, entertaining, and visiting friends and family. All of this leaves them with little time, energy, or money to attend to the poor and needy, other than perhaps making a donation.

“Do not hold back good from those to whom it is owing, when it happens to be in the power of your hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27) The poor, the hungry, and the afflicted do not suffer only at Christmastime.

If you perceive that someone needs help and it is within “the power of your hand” to assist, why wait for a holiday to act? Your kindness and compassionate actions will be blessed.

Let’s celebrate this great day peacefully and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL.

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