My friend Mike was always destined for greater things. He used to work in my Merchandising team at a national corporate many years ago. He is most probably the calmest person I’ve ever known that has worked in a corporate environment… He and his partner-in-crime at the time have both left to create successful businesses of their own (the said partner-in-crime launched Skwatta Kamp while working for me too). Mike studied for a career in the Ministry while working a full-time job.
This is Mike Ndlovu’s story:
My name is Michael Ndlovu. I was born in Tembisa, Kempton Park. I spent my entire youth life there. In 2004 December 12, I officially relocated to Pretoria due to ministry and religious commitments. I am currently serving as a Senior Pastor at Greater Dominion Church International, based in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
I am married and live with my wife in Pretoria.
The charismatic society does not place much emphasis on religious festivals. However, Christmas is one of the 2 events (Christmas & Passover/Good Friday) that we commemorate.
There are no strict rules or dogmas we make on either events. When coming to the Christmas event, 2 things are notable: 1st Christians are encouraged to show gratitude towards God for His gift (His Son) to humanity. They are encouraged to express their gratitude by reaching out to others; family, friends, the needy and the whole Christian community. Gifts and alms are exchanged.
Often, during this period, the church (congregation) will have series of worship gatherings and a special Christmas Service held early on the 25th of December.
Growing up in a community and nation which is predominantly Christian has not given me a different perception/approach about Christian Holidays. It is no strange thing to naturally develop acceptance as our life, culture and world view has been influenced largely by Christian values. I do not know any other way except that one.
When coming to how the Christian community celebrates its festivals, I do have any problem.
Every religion has its way of observing its most important days.
So far, in every continent, nation and culture, religious celebrations are accompanied by lots of exuberance, public displays and excitement. People go all out to mark those days and a lot of activities and gatherings take place.
I have had no difficulty with family when coming to this as we share the same sentiments, values and religious convictions. Often during this period, mostly as family we are together. We plan together how we spend this period.
Christmas with us begins on the eve of the day before. There is lot of excitement and busyness during that evening. Our Christmas menu is prepared. Every setting and final decorations are done then. Often our day starts as early as 5am. Meals are prepared. The family gets ready for church service that normally starts at 8am. No breakfast will be served on that day as huge meal awaits us midday. Our Christmas day has always been filled with friends, extended family, and at times neighbours joining in for lunch.
My wife and I have always made sure in every Christmas that we have at least 2 people who may not have the privilege or advantage of such an atmosphere. This may include orphans or a poor family.
Thank you Mike for sharing your story with me and allowing me to publish it here on my blog.
I learnt a couple of things from Mike through his story:
- There is something very special when the Christmas event is observed as a celebration of your Faith, aside from the usual pomp and ceremony, bells and whistles, that have become part of the commercialisation of the Holiday.
- I love how the spirit of community is integrated with Mike’s holiday activities, beyond family alone. He truly lives his calling.
- You can read more about Mike’s church here www.greaterdominion.org
Related articles on this blog:
- Christmas with a Capital C
- What does a Jewish-German Christmas look like?
- What does a faithless Christmas look like?
- What does Christmas look like when your God is alive?
- What does a Hindu Christmas look like?
- What does a Bahai Christmas look like?