From the outside looking in
Now that the Christmas season is over, it is appropriate to reflect on its importance – and this should inform subsequently. The whole world is aware that Christmas – December 25 – is the day Jesus Christ was born, around 2019 years ago.
But on this, there is still some contention. If the year, 3 BC, is correct, then the date may not be. Astronomers contend that, going by the celestial occurrence, when the Biblical wise men followed the star to Bethlehem, and calibrating it in retrospect, the time would have been sometime in October – and not December.
But that is now mere semantics and the religious gerrymandering attributed to Roman Emperor Constantine of the third century.
The entire Christian world is now attuned to – Christmas. Civilization, as we now know it, would have been different without this phenomenon.
History, Art, Literature, Music, Law, name it, would not be what it is. In law, for example, the English Law is to a large extent based on the Bible. Historically, America would not have been there.
In this colonial setting, the Pilgrims were the first to settle in America because they were escaping persecution in Europe, and wanted a free atmosphere to worship God.
In essence, Jesus Christ is God; and His coming to the world on Christmas day was phenomenal. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
His mother, Mary, probably 16 years of age, at the time was a virgin, and she was betrothed to be married to Joseph, a much older man, who was probably a widower. Her pregnancy posed a problem for the Jewish traditions.
There were three steps to a Jewish marriage: first there was the betrothal, and then there would be a public announcement, finally the wedding ceremony. If it had been learnt that Mary was pregnant before these steps, she would have been killed for besmirching the traditions. So, the angel that told Joseph of the situation during the betrothal warned him to accept Mary as she was.
This virgin birth is important in Christianity, because Jesus is a priest of the Most High, who goes up to the father to intercede for the sins of the world, because of his nature of being blameless and as the “only son of God”.
Failure to accept this essence of Jesus Christ had some European philosophers in dire straits in their professional pursuits. In his twilight years, the German philosopher, Frederich Nietze, from a position of being an animist non-believer, eventually had to admit that Christ had won. The French philosopher, Voltaire, on his death bed realized that he should have believed in Jesus, but then said, rather too late: “I see the gates of hell. I am lost!”
European missionaries brought Christianity to Uganda, but following an advent by the Arab traders who had brought Islam first. Had Christ not been born, Uganda would not have had the Christian martyrs, who have become an entrenched feature of our Christianity and indeed, even a political feature.
Witness the recent papal visit, when politicians of all walks of life lined up at Namugongo to be seen with Pope Francis.
And this martyrdom at Namugongo came as a result of a clash of civilizations of Islam and Christianity. Kabaka Mwanga had inculcated the Arab traditions, complete with adherence to practicing homosexuality.
And some of the martyrs, who were pages at his court, would not accede to his sodomic advances, thus making him furious into executing them. Others would not be persuaded to abandoning practicing their religion in his court, again attracting his ire.
Indeed, if Christ had not been born, Uganda would not have gone through the colonial period that has made us English-speaking, whatever the ramifications of it and whatever the repercussions.
The mismanagement of the post-independence political dispensation does not take away from the fact that because Christ came to the world, we Ugandan, who form more than 80% of the population are poised to be “saved” from going to hell.
Suppose Jesus had not come, what would Uganda have been? Ugandans are celebrating Christmas because Jesus came to the world. In the book of Ezekiel 34: 26-27, the word of God says that He will send “showers of blessings” to us when they are needed. That is what happens to us during the Christmas season.