For most people, as far as they’re concerned, Christmas is now over, now that we’re into the new year, but the Christmas Day celebration and all it encompasses for Bahamians – the exchanging of gifts, partaking in the holiday meal, then making ready to head out to Junkanoo for Boxing Day Junkanoo and then returning a few days later to celebrate New Year and the New Year’s Day Junkanoo parade – is by no means the end of the Christmas season in the church; a season which for some denominations continues until the Feast of the Baptism, and this year’s will be celebrated through Monday, January 6.
Over the years, many religious leaders have encouraged people to embrace Christmas for more than just the one day, and to ensure that they make Jesus Christ a part of their routine for the entirety of the season. And to ensure that they don’t just celebrate the one day.
Bahamas Harvest Church Senior Pastor Mario Moxey, who in a previous sermon preached on the topic “What if Christ was about Christmas?” in an earlier interview with The Nassau Guardian, has encouraged people to make Christmas about Christ.
Officially, Christmas begins on Christmas Eve in the church, but the answer to its end can get a tad bit complicated and takes a little unraveling. On January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany (which is transferred to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8), the church celebrates the biblical event where the magi, also called the Three Wise Men or Three Kings, traveled from the east to pay homage to the newborn king, Jesus Christ. Many believe that this is the date when the Christmas season officially ends, being the traditional 12 days of Christmas.
As the Christmas season continues, it’s Moxey’s wish that families make the season Christ-centered – and, as he says it, put Christ into Christmas.
“Family devotion is simply getting everyone together,” he said. “Get together and catch up on everything. We talk about everything else, but we don’t really talk about Christ. The whole idea is to get them to introduce a new element.”
The takeaway, he said, is that people end up putting Christ at the very center of a day and season that is used to celebrate his birth.
Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed on December 25, among billions of people worldwide. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the western world lasts 12 days.
“Usually when we celebrate someone’s birthday – we talk about them. We give them gifts. We reverence them on their birthday. We give them tribute on their birthday. The idea [of the family devotional] is that we walk away knowing that we’re giving Jesus Christ tribute on his birthday,” said Moxey.
Moxey said people are to always give God thanks in everything they do.
“There is this tendency that we have to commercialize and even neglect the important things in life. We need to remember and keep that centered about us, the fact that we are a godly people, and the fact that we as a people need each other, need to connect with each other, connect with families and so forth. I usually encourage our congregation to connect with families during this time, and that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes people go for an entire year and don’t speak to one another, but Christmas and the Christmas season is a time for peace, love and joy. And it’s just a time of communicating that joy and that peace.”