This post is similar to one I wrote several years ago, and as Christmas comes around again, I find it hard to believe how quickly this year has gone. Only a few days to go and it will all be over! Dear God, how life rushes by!
With so much planning for the celebrations, the emphasis on spend, spend, spend, and the reality that people spend more than they can afford, bids the question, what are we doing? Invariably we hear statements of having eaten too much, whilst the rest of the world lingers in poverty. Young children have ridiculous amounts of money lavished upon them, as many have nonsensical expectations. Unbelievably parents provide, whilst others have no idea what it is to own a small soft toy. I hate the injustice, the divide between those who have too much and those who have nothing.
Perhaps I have put the damper on the Christmas festivities for some reading this blog, and sorry I didn’t mean to. But we really need to think of those less fortunate and do whatever we are able to shine a light on someone else’s Christmas. Personally, I was thrilled to contribute to a local food bank and toy appeal this year.
Seemingly, very few people consider the true meaning of the Christmas celebration these days. So what actually is the history or origin of Christmas? Isn’t it all about the birth of Christ, the nativity story that we were taught in schools about baby Jesus?
I did some research and apparently the original celebration has very little to do with the birth of Christ. I am told that the Bible does not mention anywhere the date of Christ’s birth. Historians and theologians have debated over the years, and whilst some have come to the conclusion it is in the spring, others think summer or early autumn. So basically no one is sure. That’s ok. It’s still acceptable to have a date when we can all collectively celebrate. But these days God has been taken out of our schools, and most children know little or nothing about Jesus. Unless the school does a nativity play many people don’t give a thought to his birth. very sad!
Christmas is actually based on a festival called Saturnalia, which was largely celebrated between the 17 December and early January and is a pagan festival based on the winter solace. Celebrated originally by the Romans, when punishments were suspended, courts closed, business stopped and war ceased. The Romans indulged in merry-making. Over-eating, drunkenness, the exchange of gifts and the decoration of homes with greenery were the norm. Sound familiar?
My research also tells me that Christian leaders in the 4th century imported the Saturnalia festival into their Christian calendar, hoping to convert many of the pagan worshipers to Christianity. The deal was agreed.
So now Christmas has become a sacred religious and worldwide cultural event and the history behind Christmas trees and Santa Claus is interesting too. I’ll leave you to research that one yourself.
The question of paramount importance today is, what does Christmas mean to you?
Hopefully you will have a lovely time with family and friends. Be kind to one another. And remember those less fortunate than ourselves who will NOT be enjoying a Christmas feast. Perhaps help a stranger and set aside some time to think about who Jesus really was. Why he came and how he can impact our lives today.
Below is a link to a short reading I did several years ago about Christmas and had completely forgotten about until I re discovered it recently on YouTube. It is still as poignant as ever today.