Greetings In Love To One And All,
During the holiday season it is easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas. We live in a material world where even good intentions can become tangled in a web of greed and vanity. Reverence is replaced by revelry and the humble spirit of goodwill is replaced by selfishness born of needing and wanting things, even if it is not for one's self but for their loved ones. If you live in the Western World it is no great surprise. Nowadays Christmas itself as a holiday is a controversial one since some would question its origins as we know it today, and it would also be safe to say that it is now mainly a secular occasion. However, it is not for Rastafari to fight or oppose the traditions of men, for each and everyone has a right to celebrate and give thanks in whatever way possible. Despite the commercialism, deception and foolishness of a Santa Claus and elves at the North Pole, the togetherness of families, the joy it brings, and most importantly the spirit of sacrifice is a blessed thing. Goodness has always got to prevail.
As a Rastafari I follow the ancient tradition of Ethiopia and sight up Christmas on January 7th, a day called "Genna". It is more pure and less misrepresented. However, living in the West it is hard to avoid the giving of thanks on December 25th. Ultimately it is not a particular date that must be recognized, for both dates are the result of religious tradition and less on simple fact, rather the importance is in the concept of Christmas, the concept of the Christ child. I&I must give thanks and praise whether it is a Christmas Day or any other day. Even His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I made a Christmas Broadcast to America on December 25, 1937. Such is the wisdom of Qedamawi Selassie I the Defender of the Faith! He did not have the mind to focus on divisiveness and pettiness but rather I-nity (unity), putting JAH first and foremost and not the traditions of men.
In the Rastafari movement not everybody comes together in agreement on the personage of Christ, especially because of the religious perversion that has been experienced for hundreds of years in Jesus' name at the hands of the oppressors. Yet, when Rastas go to the source of their inspiration, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, they will find his words giving thanks and praise to Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, Iyesus Kristos, Jesus the Christ. I&I cannot separate Rastafari from Christ for they are bound together. JAH is the Creator and Father of all things, the Son glorifies the Father and the Comforter and King glorifies the Son. Not everyone has bothered to read the utterances of H.I.M. and instead hold on to hearsay and partiality, but I for one cannot deny the words of the King who surely had the Mind of Christ. And today, I share with you some of the Christmas greetings and meditations that H.I.M Haile Selassie I shared with both his people and foreigners, including those in America! Here are some of the words of the Defender of the Faith regarding Christmas:
"When Jesus Christ was born from Virgin Mary, from that time on He lived an exemplary life, a life which men everywhere must emulate. This life and the faith that He taught us assures us of salvation, assures us also of harmony and a good life upon Earth. Because of the exemplary character of the life of Jesus Christ it is necessary that all men do their maximum in their human efforts to see to it that they approximate as much as they can the good example that has been set by Him.
It is quite true that there is no perfection in humanity. From time to time we make mistakes, we do commit sins but even as we do that, deep in our hearts as Christians we know we have forgiveness from the Almighty. He taught us that all who seek Him shall find Him. To live in this healthy life, a Christian life, is what makes me follow Jesus Christ."
Interview with Dr. Oswald Hoffmann on the Lutheran Hour, "Bringing Christ to the Nations" radio broadcast featuring Christmas in Ethiopia, December 25, 1968
"...There is no greater day of gratitude and joy for Christians than celebrating the birthday of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. On this day of happiness, every Christian, by meditating on [Jesus'] life and the work He accomplished for all of us, tends to forget the trials he faces and the sadness that breaks his heart. At the same time everyone is inclined to minimize the trials and sorrows of his own, his kindred, and friends and forgives those who have grieved him. Since Our childhood, Our innermost thoughts have been overwhelmed by the mysterious deep spirit of the divine infant's birth, which is not only expressive but also glorious and inscrutable. Likewise, no matter what one's reputation, whether one's accomplishment is great or humble, tiresome or fruitless, in the journey of life, the mystery of Bethlehem dominates our spirit.
With the birth of the Son of God, an unprecedented, an unrepeatable, and a long-anticipated phenomenon occurred. He was born in a stable instead of a palace, in a manger instead of a crib. The hearts of the Wise men were struck by fear and wonder due to His Majestic Humbleness. The kings prostrated themselves before Him and worshipped Him. 'Peace be to those who have good will'. This became the first message.
When He sacrificed himself at Golgotha for the atonement of our sin, He prayed with His last breath for the forgiveness of those who had tortured Him saying, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'. Shame on those of us who are Christians and do not follow the way of the Savior of the World, whose life was filled with kindness, humility, and martyrdom! If we lived by the laws he gave us and were worthy of being called Christian, peace would have reigned on this earth.
Men were supposed to be the equals of the living angels who unceasingly sang praises before the eternal God. Had this been so, peoples of the world would not have been divided along lines of enmity. In truth there is no legitimate reason or good cause which justifies war…
...People of America! I wish you a merry Christmas. I plead with you to remember in your prayers all those weak and endangered peoples who look to the flags of the free nations with confidence, hoping to discern the star which will announce their peace and future security."
Broadcast from exile in London on the BBC to the American people, December 25, 1937. Excerpt from My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, Volume 2, Haile Selassie I, King of Kings of Ethiopia
Give thanks and praise to Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, Jesus the Christ, Lord and Savior of all mankind, and give thanks for the wise mind and utterances of Haile Selassie I, Christ in His Kingly Character and Defender of the Faith. I&I should all maintain some Christ Consciousness during this season. No matter the difference of opinions or ideologies or even differences in faith… let us achieve a higher level and practice peace and goodwill in this time. Walk in love with humanity and rejoice. I wish you peace and joy on this blessed day!