The Sunday Mail
“Long time ago in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day.
Hark now hear the angels sing
A king was born today
And man will live for evermore
Because of Christmas Day…”
These are lyrics from a popular Christmas carol sang during this time of the year as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Zimbabwe contributes millions to the more than two billion Christians around the world. The holiday has become so universal that most countries around the world — whether Christian or not — take time to be with family and friends, and partake in various festivities.
But Christmas means different things to different people.
For some, it is a time to indulge and make merry.
For others, it is synonymous with giving and sharing.
Although the recent indiscriminate price hikes have put a damper ahead of the public holiday, many remain cautiously optimistic.
But for Prophet Tawanda Blessing Bondera — founder of the Grace Harvest Ministries — the focus is on harvesting souls.
“The economic climate forced us to abandon some of our plans. In the past, we used to celebrate this day in grandeur, but we are not going to do that this year. Instead, we will be concentrating on preaching,” Prophet Bondera said.
His views are shared by Bishop Edward Masvingo of the Zion Apostolic Church, who believes that Christmas is a time of assisting the needy. “We take advantage of the holidays to preach and heal the sick. For us, it will be business as usual. We will be healing the sick, help the barren conceive and we will be casting out demons,” said Bishop Masvingo, whose church is headquartered in Kurauone Village in Marange.
It is a view that is also shared by United Family International Church (UFIC).
“It is a time during which we give to the less privileged. It is also a time to pray and fellowship as we thank God for giving us the greatest gift to mankind,” said Pastor Prime Kufa, UFIC spokesperson.
Prayer warriors are, however, not taking a break. Members of The City of God Apostolic Church will be hosting an all-night prayer on Christmas. “Due to the economic challenges, we decided to focus on preaching and healing. In the past, church members would exchange gifts and eat and drink,” Mr Rodrick Chiriya, the church’s spokesperson said.
However, the Apostolic Faith Mission will not stop their members from celebrating. Last week, Rev Amon Madawo, president of the Apostolic Faith Mission, said: “We are not going to have a major national event. Instead, church services will be held at cluster level. We do not want to burden our congregants by travelling to Harare for festivities.”
Not to be outdone, some traditionalists will also take advantage of the holiday break to connect with the spirit world.
Sekuru Friday Chisanyu said, “It is also a time to remember our dear departed since we believe that the dead and the living have a special connection.”
Over the years, there have been concerns of Christmas being commercialised.