Pray, Praise And Adoration
When White Christmas came to Africa
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A story of Christmas and its true meaning among the Bantu people
How Christmas came from the Abantu to the Bantu!
This is a story of Christmas, meaning Christ is with us. Christmas is also called Emmanuel, meaning a Son of God is born among us. Abantu means 'people' and it is not necessarily restricted to Africa. People are every where on this planet. So, Christmas came to all of the people. In this story we are going to read about a particular people in Africa, these we shall term as Bantu. This is a story of how Christmas arrived among the Bantu.
The Bantu were searching for the brightness and its meaning, they were searching for the darkness and its meaning and they were searching for the meaning of all the things their eyes, ears and senses enable them to perceive.
They prayed in many tongues, in many ways and continued praying harder. They praised in many tongues, in many ways and continued praising. This went on for generations. Even while many became skilled in using the natural things around them, they could not stop wondering and asking the meaning of all the things in the universe. They taught the children to pray, praise and adore. They taught the youths to pray, praise and adore.
A profusion of colors was every where, the rush of waters in the rivers, the plunge of very long falls, the thick mists of the mountains, the flapping wings of a flight of different birds, the wail of animals, the snapping of branches, the salivating whiff of roasting beef, the cry of babies, the laughter, the playful banter of youths, the collective focus of womenfolk, and the collective confidence of men. All this made up the constant definition of what it was to be in this Bantu land.
But still they were searching for a God. They had one or two or three or thousands of ways to God. The Greater God. The ways among the Bantu were split in form of roles and responsibilities. These roles and responsibilities were the children of the Greater God. It was the Bantu belief that there was a Greater God, maker of everything, the bringer, the taker, the merciful, the adjudicator, the just, the fair and most of all the one to whom decisions are left.
The Bantu lived with that understanding and never questioned it at all. They continued praying, they continued praising, they continued adoring and they continued being the Bantu as their God, the Greater God made them to be. They knew they were part of the larger universe and they knew there was diversity.
They believed there were Bantu of the waters, the Bantu who lived where the sun set, they believed there were Bantu who lived where the sun rose, they believed there were Bantu who lived up in the general direction where things, everything, is up there. They also believed there were Bantu who lived down, the general direction where things were down there. They believed they had ancestors living somewhere above the firm ground, on the ground and below the ground.These were in spirit could take up the object form they fancied. They had to be appeased, they were the keepers, they were more enlightened and could confer with the Greater God. God the giver, taker and to whom all decisions are left. This tolerance and humility was passed on to the next generations. The Bantu believed in celebrations following everything, even death. They believed in elaborate mourning, birth and initiation rites. All these were part of praying, praising and adoring the Greater God.
This is how Christmas found them. Christmas did not reveal itself immediately. First came the other Abantu with books. These Abantu were from the lands far away yonder where Christmas first visited.
The Bantu did not know that the Greater God would come to them in a Book! It is in that Book that the Greater God chose to reveal more joy and bounty to the Bantu. It was not in the plummeting falls, nor the strong winds, nor the deaths following the epidemics which were the norm among Bantu, nor in the grass hoppers that covered large areas and ate up all the green cover, nor the hot sun, nor in the moon beam. The greater God chose to come in a Book! It was a black Book, brown Book, no it was a blue Book! Well, it was a Book!
Not long after the Bantu went about inquiring among elders. “We have heard the words read to us from the Book. Indeed they are words of inspiration. They talk to us and they pull at our hearts' strings.” They seemed to agree among themselves. “But, then the ones who read to us the words do not seem to do what the words they read say.” The elders told them to learn the words themselves and be able to tell them to the Bantu. “The Greater God will give all of you roles and responsibilities. Play your part.” The Elders advised. This was in tandem with the Bantu spirit of tolerance, humility and hard work. The Bantu continued praying, praising and adoring.
They learnt to count the days like the ones (Abantu) who had brought the Book did. They learnt to memorize words of the language of the ones (Abantu) who brought the Book. The Bantu learnt how to use their own stories to drive the message deeper home. The Bantu merged their prayer, praise and adoration songs and liturgy with that of the bringers (Abantu) of the Book. They performed the Noel as it was done in the Orient of old. They accessorized the Bantu resources and made ready the stables where Emmanuel was birthed, named, grew, taught, died and rose again. This cycle was done repetitively until the Bantu no longer thought of it as anything else but something they always did among themselves. Having been made a child among the Bantu, Christmas took on roles and responsibilities too. One of them was to travel to next lands. The lands in the oceans, seas, rivers, up or down. Christmas went but it never left the Bantu. It remained the hearts. Christmas was unique. It could be everywhere at the same time. This was a lesson that made the Bantu more devout. Christmas made the Bantu establish cordial relationships and arbitration mechanisms among themselves.
They contemplated the fact that Christmas was more than a day but an entire course of life. They composed songs, they prayed, they praised and they adored. They composed stories, poems and art. They planned ahead, those who had slighted each other devised means to seek forgiveness. They also learnt how to rely on each other. Dependability was possible. Families, clans, communities and villages worked together. They anticipated and planned how to celebrate a next Christmas or they lived by the unwritten code that was Christmas.
This was the code: A child was born to us; we who were continuously searching, we who always looked up, down, sun-from and sun-forth. Now we have the child and Greater God among us. If God lives among us, then we are Gods too. We only need to live happily with each other. That is our main role and responsibility. Thus the Bantu lived as Gods up to today.
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2. Hindu pilgrimage to the Ganges River
3. Holy Visits to Holy Land and Places of prayer dedicated to the Saints and Blessed Virgin Mary.
4. Planned prayer events e.g., National Prayer events.
5. Halloween in some countries
6. Other forms of celebrations that increase on the spirituality and meaning of a deeper sense of divinity among people in the world.
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Last updated on November 11, 2013
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