Rwandans should take some time off today to reflect on their past life, seek renewal and revival for hope and continued peace and development of their families and nation, clerics have said.
“The message we would really want to pass on to people during this festive season and throughout the year, is the message of Hope and Peace,” said Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo, the chairperson of the Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE Plan, the umbrella organisation of Christian Churches in Rwanda.
“We do know what God has done for our country in so many ways. May we derive hope from what we have seen Him do and believe for better things yet to come; Hope which is just not verbal but based on facts—for example, despite several challenges across the world, our nation has been moving from glory to glory.
These things work because indeed ‘Emmanuel, God is with us’,” Birindabagabo added.
Pastor Jeannette Mukamana of the Kiyovu-based Presbyterian Church said that her message for Christmas originates from Mathew 2:1-12, which explains the story of the birth of Jesus Christ—and at some point depicts wise men who came from the east to worship ‘the newborn King’. She said that this manifests that Jesus indeed was the ‘star of peace’.
“These wise men were not Israelites, they were foreigners who came from the East to worship Jesus. This means that he is indeed God Almighty who came to save the world from tribulation. During this season I urge Rwandans to find hope and renewal that the Lord has been born for us; May we continue to do good to our neighbour because we are our sister and brother’s keeper,” Mukamana said.
Mukama said that Jesus is not for just Christians but for those willing to listen to him and live with humility, love and kindness as that portrayed by Jesus through scriptures.
Amos Kajuga, the Executive Pastor at Christian Life Assembly (CLA), argues that the story of Christmas is biblically crafted to bring about peace, hope and reconciliation between God and Mankind.
“The Miracle and Mystery of Christmas is that God chose to come to be with us through Jesus Christ. During this season, may the world look beyond the little baby in a manger and see the redeemer of mankind.
“We are naturally sinners but God redeemed us through his son Jesus—that we may all see this grace revealed to us; that we may go on reconciling with our neighbours, repent and live in harmony,” he noted.
Bishop Nathan Gasatura of Butare Diocese told Sunday Times that it is from the scriptures (Isaiah 9:6) that the Christians believe that Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ hence urging Rwandans to live in peace and harmony henceforth.
“Unto us a child is born…He will be called Wonderful, Prince of peace, Counselor, Mighty God and the endless Kingdom will be upon his shoulder. These are strong statements that should encourage us to be advocates of peace and love,” Gasatura said.
Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege, the head of Kabgayi Diocese said that this festive season has coincided with the diocese’s 50th anniversary, and the celebrations will focus on calling people to renew and repent.
“We remember the birth of Jesus Christ in collaboration with Jubilee celebration of our dioceses. We continue to teach the message that Jesus lived with people before he left; we talk about his sacrificial love and humility with hope that the people will find it appealing to transform,” Mbonyintege said.
Although the date and month of Jesus’ birth is still unknown, Christmas Day (December 25th) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.