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More than just food and gifts

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Getting gifts from Father Christmas is one of the things children look forward to. Photo by ABUBAKER LUBOWA 



Posted  Saturday, December 21  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

The meaning of Christmas. The importance of this holiday is easily lost in the celebration, which is why parents need to always teach their children why there is cause to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

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At the mention of the word Christmas, the first thing that comes to most children’s minds is wearing new clothes, eating a lot of food and going out in the afternoon. Although the above do take place on Christmas, the gist of the day which is the birth of Jesus Chris,t is not obvious to children.
This is why parents need to teach children the meaning of Christmas. Susan Otim, a mother of four, says, at first she used to find it hard to explain to her two elder children the meaning of Christmas. But after thinking deeply about why we celebrate the day, she got an easy solution. “My children are aged between 13 and three. The two older ones already know the meaning of Christmas, but for the two young ones aged between six and three, I always tell them that this day is Jesus’s birthday.”

Otim further explains, “I tell them that unlike other birthdays, this one has no visible guest of honour. The guest of honour is living in the hearts of people. So if they want the guest of honour to enjoy his birthday, they have to share with the people around them.”

While Otim does not tell her children the meaning of Christmas directly, the Walusimbis do not beat around the bush. Elizabeth Walusimbi, a mother of six, says she grew up in a Christian family where her parents taught her that Christmas is all about sharing.

“We were not very well-off. But we had enough. So on Christmas Eve, we would invite a neighbouring family or two to come and have Christmas with us. Right now, the family set-ups have changed, so what my husband and I do, is look out for people who cannot afford to take their children out on Christmas. We go with four or six of them along with our own children for Christmas outings.”

Church activities
Additionally, she says a few weeks to Christmas, leaders at her church organise a Christmas Out reach programme. “So instead of me sorting out the clothes that my children can give out, I tell them to do it. In this way, they learn that Christmas is about giving,” she explains.

Priscilla Namasaba says she asks her children to contribute towards Christmas food for someone. “I have seven children and four of them are already working. But I always tell them that Christmas is not about them, but their neighbours.
At first, we would collect money and buy Christmas food for our pastors, but then we realised that the pastors can afford the food.”

“After discussions, we decided that we will collect money to buy food for prisoners. We have been doing this for the last two years. While it is little, it helps. Last year, one of my daughters spent her Christmas in Masaka helping out elderly women,” Namasaba explains.

On the other hand, Caroline Asaba says attending Sunday school has helped her children learn the meaning of Christmas. The mother of two says on other Sundays, she sits with her son and daughter in the main church.

“But on Christmas, I let them go to Sunday school because on this day, they are taught why they are celebrating Christmas and how they should do it. They tell them that it is a day of sharing.
So this year, my five-year-old son asked me to buy him a car which he will give to one of the children in Sunday school on Christmas.”