In the little county Village of Saaka, Uganda, where I come from, the Christmas season is a season of joy and blessings. People travel from all other major cities to come and celebrate Christmas at home with their families. It is a time of thanksgiving to the Lord for the blessings and achievements of the year, but more importantly a time of awaiting the birth of Christ. Beautiful clothes, wonderful perfumes, a bumper harvest kept, and savings during the year – these are all done to make for a good celebration. On that day, decorations and all that has been saved is let out to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Sometimes people send massages of "Merry Christmas", but I have taken time to examine the true meaning and essence of this word in my own context. Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving, it is true, but the deeper meaning for me is to experience salvation in my life. It is a season that rejuvenates and unites me with the newborn Christ, my savior.
This fuels me in my apostolic life because it strengthens my zeal to go out and share the Good News of the wonders brought by his deliverance and to remember his merciful love in rejoicing and thanksgiving as a Christian.
Coming understand that God dwells in us, is born for us, and is among us should be an inspiration for us that we believe in the living God—a God who loves and is merciful … from whom we receive the fullness of his abundant love and grace in celebrating the birth of Christ.
Celebrating Christmas as true Christian, I focus on the word "Merry" to mean to be happy, joyful, and light-hearted. The word "Mass" is strictly a Catholic word and thus, so is "Christ-Mass."
And so, I say, “Merry Christmas,” and may God who dwells in us enlighten us to receive people with love and mercy so that we can receive the fullness and grace of God celebrating the birth of his only son Jesus Christ.
This reflection for Christmas was written Br. Adolf Mugume, C.S.C., who is a member of the District of East Africa, where he is continuing his initial formation as a religious of the Congregation. Special thanks to Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C., for the artwork used with this reflection.