I knew that, being my last blog before Christmas, (my first blogging Christmas), it would seem appropriate for me to write a blog about Christmas and what it means.
I realised that this would be difficult, as Christmas means different things to different people. Perhaps if I could find out about the origins of this celebration, I would understand.
I read a number of theories about the origins of December 25th as the date for Christmas, in the hope that this would provide some clarity.
Some attest that the date was scientifically calculated by aligning the date of Jesus’ conception with his crucifixion.
Some have insisted that, if shepherds truly were watching their flocks by night, then it would point to his birth being earlier in the year during lambing season. And some have identified the Star of Bethlehem as a particular comet, which also appeared during spring.
Some attest that December 25th, which marked the Roman Pagan Saturnalia celebrations, was adopted by Christians as a way to entice Pagans into the Christian fold. Certainly a number of Pagan practices have been incorporated into our modern celebrations. Christmas trees, presents, Yule logs, and even carolling are said to have stemmed from Paganism.
Even some Christians will have nothing to do with Christmas celebrations, because of its Pagan origins, whilst some Jews remember Christmas as a time of great persecution.
It is not surprising then, that there is such controversy and mixed feelings about the way we celebrate Christmas today, particularly when you throw our modern consumerism into the mix.
Despite its Pagan origins, Christmas gift giving used to be a way to share our love with our family and friends. For many today, gift buying has become such a dreaded chore, that the joy of giving is no longer a factor. Many children today receive all that they could ever desire throughout the year, so even the receiving of Christmas gifts leaves them bored and unappreciative.
Christmas has become a time of creating Master Chef meals. Simple fare has been replaced by designer dishes requiring difficult-to-acquire ingredients and hours of work shopping and cooking.
When it is finally time to relax and enjoy the company of our family and friends, many drink to excess, and any joy is soon replaced by inebriation, and later, hangovers. This, however, is often seen as a positive improvement to the anxiety and bickering, which often accompany large family gatherings.
Some remember only joyful times in Christmases past, and mourn their loss, as they spend Christmas without a departed loved one, a divorced spouse, or the custody of their children.
Many, who grew up in troubled homes, associate nothing but pain with Christmas, and struggle to replace those painful memories.
And yet, with all the anxiety and pain that can be associated with Christmas, there is still a deep-seated longing to make this season all that it could be. We all know that Christmas can be a period of peace and goodwill. Whether one is Christian, of another religion, or even atheist, within Christmas lies the promise of a better world for all.
If one were to have a conversation with Jesus, I wonder what he would have to say about Christmas. I imagine the conversation would go something like this:
Jesus, Christmas is the time of the celebration of your birthday. I understand that this date may not mark your actual birth, but I wanted to say happy birthday anyway, if that is appropriate.
Thank you, Lorelle. It is appropriate to wish me a happy birthday. You should never be afraid to wish anyone happiness. Happiness is not a condition of my current existence, but constant joy is what I experience every day – all the more because of the love I receive from yourself, and all those who hold the traditions of Christmas as sacred. The love that pours forth for me and others in the world in this period of goodwill, is a condition I would love to see continue throughout the year.
Love is the key to peace on Earth. Love one another as yourself and all will be well. Be not afraid to send your love out into the world, in the form of peace, love and healing to all those who need it. Have faith, and all your desires can be achieved, including peace throughout the Earth, and goodwill, not only to all men, but all women, and all creatures, as well. Goodwill towards the Earth itself will follow.
No matter what the true origins of Christmas, and no matter what the traditions of the past, let us make Christmas into a celebration of love, a celebration of the best that humans can be, and a celebration of gratitude for all that we have been given, not only by our friends and families, but by our Creator, and those who have shown us how to emulate him/her.
Let us aim to create Christmas anew.
Can we make Christmas a time of joy for all the people, and animals of the world?
- Some suggestions:
- • K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple sweetheart. (You thought I was going to say something else!)
• Remember those people who may feel lonely over Christmas, like the elderly and those without families, and give them the gift of your time.
• Consider reducing your consumption of animal products, particular those which have been factory farmed.
• Be grateful for all of your gifts.
• Remember to love others as yourself. (Don’t forget yourself.)
• Send your peace, love and joy out to all the world.
• Have faith and all will be well.
Wishing you all a joyful Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year.