(PLEASE FORGIVE ME…AGAIN WORDPRESS IS ALLOWING ME TO POST…I HOPE… BUT NOT TO READ OR COMMENT… HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
What is it about Christmas that you hold dear?
Is it the anticipation? Of what? Gifts? Food? Fellowship? Family? The ‘feeling’? Church services? Reaching out to others in need? Snow?
Or, maybe what you hold dear is the decorating? Putting your normal treasures away and hauling out boxes, bags and crates (possibly calling an 18-wheeler in?) Making positive the lights line up straight along the roof line? Keeping the tree in perfect symmetry and the angel straight? The train chugging round the tracks and the villagers off the floor?
Or the preparation of the treats that we only seem to bring out at Christmas, and secretly are glad; that’s what keeps them special.
Christmas traditions abound.
In one family they observe gifts Christmas Eve so they can truly focus on the Christmas meaning and not on ‘what’s in that big box with my name on it?’ (In fact, I bet lots of families do this.)
In another they open one gift Christmas Eve, to ‘quell’ the frenzy their kids are in. (I bet lots of families do this too…)
Some don’t open gifts. Not because they are poor or don’t celebrate, but rather because they choose one large family gift, a trip; a game; a computer.
Others try to break the bank filling the tree to the top with gifts that take all day to open, and everyone wonders what they received after ward.
Some spend their time serving food to the less fortunate at community kitchens or halls, for personal reasons; pious reasons or because their friends dragged them along.
To some Christmas is a painful event, tied to misery, heartache, loneliness, and they’d rather it would just go away.
To some Christmas is a Holiday Season, and they eagerly absorb all the traditions from the various events. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice. (A following list, garnered from Wikipedia; but by no means complete, of various events celebrated in December around the globe or by various different peoples and groups.)
- Four Sundays prior to December 25: Advent
- Kislev (November/December) 25: Hanukkah
- December 6: Saint Nicholas’ Day
- December 8: Bodhi Day
- December 13: Saint Lucy’s Day – Church Feast Day
- December 21-22: Winter Solstice
- December 21: Soyal – Zuni and Hopi
- December 21: Yalda
- December 21: Mōdraniht: or Mothers’ Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival
- December 21: Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival
- December 21-25: Pancha Ganapati
- December 24: Christmas Eve
- December 25: Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun)
- December 25: Christmas
- December 25-January 6: Twelve Days of Christmas
- December; late – early January: Yule
- December 25: Anastasia of Sirmium Feast Day
- December 25: Malkh
- December 26: Boxing Day – Gift-giving day after Christmas
- December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa - Pan-African festival
- December 26: Saint Stephen’s Day
- December 27: Saint John the Evangelist’s Day
- December 28: Holy Innocents’ Day
- December 31: Saint Sylvester’s Day
- December 31: Watch Night
- December 31: New Year’s Eve
- December 31 – before dawn January 1: Hogmanay – Scottish New Year’s Eve
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- January 1: Saint Basil’s Day
- January 5: Twelfth Night/Epiphany Eve
- January 6: Epiphany
- January 6: Armenian Apostolic Christmas
To some, Christmas isn’t about the one day in December, nor about the few weeks devoted to the decoration and songs. To some Christmas is a feeling they hold out all year long. Which, hope and love and compassion being those feelings; I tend to think these people have figured it out!
To me Christmas is about the day we set aside to worship THE ONE who makes Christmas possible at all. It’s not a ‘festive season’. It’s not a ‘holiday season’. It is a birthday. And should be the biggest birthday party ever celebrated. (Even if we aren’t celebrating on Jesus’ ACTUAL birthday)
I hear you. “But what if I’m (You fill in the blank)?” So? None of the other ‘celebrations’ EXISTED before ‘Christmas’, so, you should at the very least give a ‘nod’ to that which sparked your celebration. (I am voicing my opinion, I know… I tend to do that, in case you didn’t notice…)
Don’t get me wrong… I celebrate with Christmas lights, decorations, food (oh BOY! do I celebrate with food!), family (those in driving distance), friends (ditto), small gifts (we try for home made, not to be ‘perfect’, but to save money!), a Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims; and the only colourized version to be worthwhile, the version with George C. Scott. We shovel snow (if we can find any), we sing Christmas carols and drink the proverbial hot chocolate, (the adults get the adult-version).
We attend Church services on Christmas Eve and a shortened service on Christmas Day, where we (and I suspect a lot of other congregations) sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and partake of a large birthday cake! (To ease clean up, everyone supplies their own fork and cup for coffee/tea/hot chocolate, the non-adult version…)
But Christmas is what YOU make of it. If it stresses you out; why do you continue to celebrate in that environment? Why not change some traditions? Just remember, it’s called CHRISTmas for a reason…
Tomorrow (or soon): Change those traditions! Or not…
- Christmas was NOT based on the Roman Juvenalia (geneveith.com)
- Celebrate! (lyndaparham.com)
- Christmas with Family (gracefulearning.wordpress.com)
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