Sunday, 25 December 2011
It's pretty silly, isn't it? I've seen so many posts this Christmas season talking about the real reason for Christmas. All of them make great points, but sometimes people just don't want to agree to disagree, or see where others may be coming from.
For instance, I think, for the most part, Christians get that it isn't Jesus' real birthday- just that it is the day the Church has chosen to celebrate Christ's birth. Christmas is literally "Christ's Mass" so when we refer to Christmas, really we are saying that we are with Christ in mission. That is really what Christmas means and there is no getting around that.
So, about the origin of Christmas, most Christians today know that it was originally a pagan holiday adopted by the Christians. It was a day known as "Bruma" which celebrated the winter solstice. To understand the significance of this day to Christians, you need to understand the importance of the "light" in the darkness. The winter solstice is the darkest day in the year. From that day on, until the summer solstice, everything will be getting lighter. We, as Christians, believe that Christ is the Light of our path, and as believers, we become bearers of His light. So one can see the importance of this day and why the Church has adopted it as the day we celebrate Christ's entrance into the world. It's not about stealing a pagan holiday. It's about showing the relevance of Christ in the world. It shows how He can apply to anything. And for two thousand years, this is what the Church has done. We've taken elements of the culture and showed the world how Christ applies. Sometimes this has been done in a somewhat lazy and careless manner, but as for Christmas, it is one of the best things that the Church has ever adopted.
There is a minority of atheists and other non-believers that would like to take the "Christ" out of Christmas. I've never heard anyone simply suggest "Mas" or "Mass", probably because it is a Christian term, but I've seen Xmas. It's funny, really. I see Christians get up in arms about that.
"They are taking 'Christ' out of Christmas!" they say. This is simply fear talking. First of all Xmas still means "Christmas". X is the Greek letter "Chi" which is the first letter of Christ. All throughout the history of Christianity, X has referred to Christ in short. So no one is really taking "Christ" out of "Christmas". It's always been there. Also, I think it's important to point out that just because a secular family wants to celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way, doesn't mean Christ is absent. We have to remember that we believe in an omnipresent God. The idea of someone taking Christ out of Christmas is really asinine. Some people just simply don't believe. That's really all there is to say. I mean, even Santa Claus came from "St. Nicholas", Kris Kringle is "Christkindl" ("Christ Child"), and so on. Though I get how with all the coded language, it's easy to forget the purpose of Christmas.
Speaking of which, I'm not the kind of guy that gets all preachy on the over expenditure on Christmas. Mainly because I know that I am guilty of it too. The way I see it is, Christ is a gift. We reenact this gift of God when we give to others. It puts a joy in my heart to give, especially on Christmas day. It's significant to me and significant to my family. Sure, companies take advantage of giving. It is also a gift, in itself, to live simply and give in a simple way. This is why, for the Christian, it is important to remember that the joy of Christmas isn't in the gift giving. It's in the meaning of why we give gifts to one another to begin with. Keeping in mind, first and foremost that without Christ, we would not be celebrating this holiday, helps immensely when we go Christmas shopping. It gets us out of this mentality that the person or people we are giving to "really NEEDS this gift". Instead, it helps us remember that, "I really want to give this to 'so-n-so'!" There is a giant difference there, isn't there? I think so anyway.
The last thing that I wanted to bring up is the offensiveness of the words, "Happy Holidays". Well, honestly, I really don't find it offensive. I say "Merry Christmas" because I am a Christian. If someone told me, "Happy Hanukkah!" I might feel a little weird about it, but only because I'm not used to it, but I would exchange a "Happy Hanukkah!" in return. The reason is, I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas. I feel like if many people were honest with themselves, both Christian and non, many will find out that, maybe, they really aren't celebrating Christmas- the day we celebrate Christ's birth, but instead, an Americanized holiday of giving presents and feeling frustrated. In that sense, for some, "Happy Holidays" is probably a more honest way to great others in a celebratory manner in the Christmas season. Despite this, I would still urge Christians to tell others "Merry Christmas" not because it's a holiday we just celebrate, but because of the significance of Christ in our world.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and find the Light of Christ in your lives this season.
What is your take on Christmas? What are the things that make Christmas a little less special for you? What makes it more special?