Christmas and the Christakut
By Ngamkhothang Haokip
Christmas is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός). It is a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), “Messiah,” meaning “anointed” and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist.
The form “Christenmas” was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally “Christian mass.”
X-mas has a good meaning because “Xmas” is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter ‘X’ called chi (pronounce as khai) (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), “Christ,” though numerous style guides discourage its use.
X pronounced as ‘Khai’ in Greek letter which means Christ in English. It has precedent in Middle English Χρ̄es masse (where “Χρ̄” is an abbreviation for Χριστός/Khrīstos).
God’s humanity in Jesus is the Immanuel
God, the maker of all – when came on earth, born in the form of human being. God did not take the form of animal, bird, reptiles or sea animals and the like to reveal to the world of humankind.
There is no reason for God to be born on earth other than human form because God created human in His own image. So, God needs to take human image because Genesis chapter one verse twenty-seven says…, in the image of God created human; male and female created them. God’s humanity is seen only in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the most humane one of God. Jesus is the only God seen in human form.
Immanuel, meaning God with human beings in Jesus, reveals the only God’s adaptability in human image. God becoming human in Jesus is the only incarnation that truly nurtures every human way of life. Giving salvation of soul for eternity shows the immortality of God’s nature seen in the life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus clearly affirms that he is the most human one of God.
The true nature of God’s work in Jesus is seen in his way of formation out of spirit in a virgin-Mary’s worm, his birth, growth, his teaching about life, miraculous healing ministry, raising human from death, his Godly human nature of overcoming evil with good, his inclusive love for humanity, his nature of complete sacrifice, his death, burial, his resurrection and ascension to heaven had affirmed the true nature of God’s immortality in Jesus.
The Bible does not mention the date of the birth of Jesus. Therefore, the 25th of December may not be the exact birthday of Jesus. In this light of inaccuracy, some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. While others celebrate it as, whatever means to them, is still very meaningful because to observe a day in remembrance of the true incarnation of the Immanuel God with us in Jesus is the most important.
Christ for all
Christ for all humans may attain the real theological meaning of Christmas. Bible is the first ever printed book which human beings have.
Bible and Christmas cannot be exclusively for Christians alone because John chapter three verse sixteen has clearly stated that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Whosoever believes in Jesus is a person of the way, truth and life. Jesus is the light of the world, living bread, living water, death and resurrection of the way, truth and life. He said, “I am who I am” ever living one of God. Therefore, every human being, tribes, castes, dalit, rich or poor, able or disable needs God in Jesus.
Above statement and purpose of God’s love shows that Christ is for all human beings, not exclusively for one religious group. Religiousness within Christians for Christmas may be a matter of religiosity; however spirituality of God’s incarnation in Christ Jesus is the glory of God itself and indwelling peace on earth for human prosperity with its main goal as the salvation of each and every human soul for eternity.
Why Christmas as Christakut for the Kutmi?
God creates every human being and a community is formed through inter-connected dialects or languages. Language community is God’s ordained community of family. Therefore, language/dialect holds centre of unity to glorify God of love, peace, justice and prosperity within a community and to be a blessing for others in discipleship.
To the Kutmi (people-of-Kut), their festive nature of the origin of Kut, began long back before the gospel was introduced to them. It means, Kut preceded Christmas among the people of Kut. Tharfavang-kut, pawi-kut, mim-kut, chaang-kut, lholhun kut and later chapchar-kut, chavang-kut etc. has its origin that precedes the gospel, before Christ (BC) and before they knew Jesus.
In this context, Kut holds centrality of Kut community people to come together to celebrate their life with love, peace, inheriting culture and traditions of the Kutmi. Christ must reveal natively in the family and community of Kut. Christ must be born and rooted culturally and traditionally in the Kut celebrating people called Kutmi.
It is the enculturation of God in Christ Jesus for Kutmi, to nurture their way of life, that it may hold appropriate meaning with the term Christakut rather than saying Christmas of English because Kut-people are not English but the Kutmi (people-of-kut).
To love our own community does not mean to despise or hate other community because God in Jesus main teaching is to love God with all our heart and soul, and to love our neighbors. To the God in Christ Jesus, neighbors means not only human neighbors but inclusive of environment, flora and fauna.
Therefore, it is the appeal of the writer to the readers that gospel must be read to take the teaching of Jesus, with the purpose to relate it with our owned human’s custom, culture, tradition, religion, polity, economy, education with the primary goal to attain eternal life.
Let our personal life and community way of life be meaningful according to the teachings of God in Jesus for unity, prosperity and salvation of soul, as an ultimate goal. The loving nature of God seen in Jesus Christ-for-all in Christmas is nurturing and promoting to every community way of life, as we learnt it for Chrstakut.
The writer was a chaplain of Kuki Worship Service-Kolkata from 2008 to 2013. He currently lives in New Delhi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.