Christmas is a time for celebration and joy. It’s a time when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. His life, ministry, His death on the cross, and his resurrection form the base on which Christianity and its beliefs have been built.
Even though Christianity’s foundation is on Jesus’ resurrection, His birth is also has equal importance in the Christian calendar. He is believed to be the Son of God who would eventually give His life for the sins of the world. Therefore, His birth becomes all the more important.
Secondly, Jesus’ birth is the epitome of humbleness. He was laid in a manger and those who visited Him first were the shepherds. For centuries, His birth has been celebrated and commemorated around the world. However, what started off as a humble birth has become a pompous affair today.
Many companies and conglomerates make use of Christmas to promote their products. Hotels promote their food products and delicacies by introducing Christmas specials in their menus. Every shop will have a Christmas sale that would help its consumers buy stuff at lower prices to celebrate Christmas. It is okay to help them celebrate. But are they celebrating it in the proper spirit? Are they celebrating it knowing the true reason behind the event?
The manner in which it has been celebrated has changed over the years. In today’s commercially driven world, everything has been commercialized in order to sell it to the consumer. Unfortunately, Christmas too is being used as an opportunity to sell products and make money. A lot of elements have been incorporated into the occasion so as to make it profitable.
On the other hand, there are elements that have been incorporated into the celebration of Christmas. A lot of the stuff that you see which adorn shops fronts, malls, offices and even churches do not have anything to do with the true meaning of Christmas.
If you actually think of it, the Christmas tree has been a symbol of Christmas celebrations for centuries. There is a reason for the Christmas tree becoming a part of the celebration. Christmas is celebrated in December where there is nothing but snow in the West. Trees, except for pine, spruce or fir, do not have leaves.
Even though they have nothing to do with Christ’s birth, they were used such trees as tools to celebrate it.
Santa Claus and reindeer
Hate to burst your bubble, but Santa is not real! Santa is not the reason behind the celebration either. The purpose of Santa was to encourage the idea of giving and sharing. However, as time passed, even Santa became commercialised. Children too are not told of the true meaning of Christmas, and instead, they look forward to Christmas day, expecting to find gifts under the Christmas tree.
Even snow has no significance as far as Christmas is concerned. Besides Christ was born in Bethlehem, Palestinian, where it never snows.
Many of us would have been greeted with ‘Merry X-mas’ in cards, shop fronts and adverts. Christmas does not celebrate the birth of an unknown factor X, but rather Jesus Christ. We live in a world where Christians believe that Christmas is the day Christ was born. There are arguments and counter arguments regarding the day on which it is commemorated. But at the end of the day, it is Christ’s birthday and it is only right that we use the proper term without shortening it. Such a habit would actually take the true meaning out of Christmas.
Christmas is never complete without carols which celebrate the birth of Jesus. Churches and many Christian schools look forward to the carol services which they conduct a few days prior to Christmas. It is an important event in the Christian calendar.
There are carols, and then there are other Christmas songs that have become a part of the tradition, but have no relevance to Jesus’ birth. Jingle bells, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, and whatever songs that describe trees, Santa Clause and snow are not carols.
There is no harm in celebrating the occasion by decorating Christmas trees, getting dressed as Santa Clause and playing with kids, and buying gifts. But, people should know that these do not represent the true meaning of Christmas. Everyone should know it, whether one is a Christian or not.
Jesus came into the world for you and me and gave His life for us. The true spirit of Christmas is remembering that, and when we change the lives of those around us.
(Published in the Nation on December 11, 2016)