The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Religious Leaders Preach Peace for Christmas

AS Rwandan Christians today join the rest of the World in celebrate Christmas, religious leaders have called on the public to celebrate the festive season with joy but avoid situations that might negatively affect them and others.

They warned that during Christmas and New Year celebrations, some people tend to get overexcited, often engaging in reckless actions that might make the festive season lose its meaning.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Onesphore Rwaje, said that Christmas celebrations should reflect the joy that came with the birth of Jesus Christ.

"This is the time we must remember the birth of our savior Jesus Christ; therefore in whatever we do, we should bear in mind what the Bible tells us; we should also endeavor to live in harmony with our neighbours," said Rwaje.

He said Christmas comes with joy, love and happiness.

Citing the book of Luke, chapter 2:13-15, Rwaje said that happiness should be based on the expectation of changing lives for the better, forgiveness and repentance.

He also called for responsible celebrations.

During this year's Traffic Week, police said that although the number of accidents on the road had reduced compared to cases registered last year, accidents during festive seasons are normally higher than on other days.

This was largely attributed to drunk driving. Religious leaders have joined police in warning against the habit.

Ezron Byiringiro, the president of seventh day Adventist church (SDA), said that they also celebrate Christmas but they don't celebrate it December 25 because they don't believe Jesus was born on that day.

"Yes we know that Jesus was born and died because f our sins, and we even preach to believers to remember Jesus Christ, but we don't have a specified date he was born."

Mufti Abdul Karim Gahutu, the head of the Muslim Community in Rwanda, said that although their religion does not celebrate Christmas, they also benefit from peace and love that characterize Christmas.

He also explained that dangers that might transpire during the celebrations can easily affect any person irrespective of their religion.

Copyright © 2012 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.