Celebrated on the 25th of December every year, this day signifies the birth of Lord Jesus to save the world for its sins. The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service to remember that Jesus died for mankind and then came back to life. Christmas is now celebrated by people around the world, whether they are Christians or not. It’s a time when family and friends come together and remember the good things they have.
25th of December coincides with the winter solstice this meant that the winter was over and spring was coming and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter. A day to celebrate knowledge wisdom and all things good over ignorance and evil.
On a recent survey when I asked my readers to share with me the one word which came to them when they thought of Christmas, you will be surprised to know that only 2 people mentioned Jesus, rest votes went for Tree (7), cakes (6) holidays (4) giving (1) winter (3) party (10), jingle bells (2) socks (2) happiness (11) and Santa scored the highest with 15 votes followed by gifts 14 votes.
Santa Claus, who is he? An old man with a big pot belly, spectacles resting on his nose, white long beard wearing red and white. Though the modern Santa Claus has devolved into a secularized figure surrounded by fantasy, his image can serve to help us remember the real St. Nicholas, a man who devoted his life to serving God and inspiring others to do the same.
Furthermore, the idea of giving gifts in Santa’s name is a useful practice. In essence, when gifts are given in Santa’s name, they are given anonymously. Secret generosity is consistent with how St. Nicholas gave gifts, and more importantly it follows Jesus’ instruction to let our giving be done in secret. As Jesus said, “Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
St Nicholas would secretly drop socks full of gold coins into a poor man’s house so that he could marry his daughters well. When the father hid one night and caught St Nicholas red-handed, he requested this deed to be kept as a secret. This inspired the joy of giving and hence December became the month for charity, donations and giving. In many Christian households the entire money earned in December is donated in the name of the Lord because giving brings happiness.
One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.
- Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus.
- Gold was associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
- Myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and, as a gift, it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
The wise men who brought their gifts to honour the birth of Jesus inspired the concept of giving gifts during the holiday. God also gives us the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit to follow his direction: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord. These gifts would be wrapped in coloured paper and tied with a ribbon bow to represent how we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill.
Evergreen is the second colour of Christmas after red and shows everlasting light and life. the tree symbolized life during the winter. There is also a legend that when Christ was born in the dead of winter, all the trees around the world shook off the snow to reveal new shoots of green. The Christmas tree is decorated with bells to Bells to proclaim the arrival of the season, and announce the birth of Christ. The Christmas star symbolizes the star of Bethlehem which guided the three kings to the baby Jesus and hence finds its place at the top of the tree. The candy cane stripped in red and white symbolises the shepherd’s crook, the red stripe represents Christ’s sacrifice and the white stands for his purity. The red berries symbolise the blood of Jesus on the cross reminding us of his sacrifice. The wreath, A circular, never-ending symbol of eternal love and rebirth. Today the wreath symbolizes generosity, giving and gathering of family. Mistletoe has no roots of its own. It lives off the tree that it is attached to, and without it, the mistletoe would die. The plant is a symbol of man’s love which is derived from God and that man should stay connected with God. A candle (a mirror of starlight) is often lit at the mid night mass which shows our gratitude towards the star of Bethlehem.
As Christmas arrives the smell of freshly bakes cakes, cherries and plum float in the air. Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. People ate the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to line their stomachs after a day of fasting. Soon dried fruit, spices and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and eventually it turned into Christmas pudding. In the 16th century, oatmeal was removed from the original recipe, and butter, wheat flour and eggs were added. These ingredients helped hold the mixture together, resulting in a boiled plum cake. Richer families with ovens began making fruit cakes with marzipan, an almond sugar paste, for Easter. For Christmas, they made a similar cake using seasonal dried fruit and spices. The spices represented the exotic eastern spices brought by the Wise Men. This cake became known as ‘Christmas cake’. The warm sponge, the soft fluff and spicy textures makes it comforting and festive.
Today people host Christmas parties to celebrate happiness, to meet and greet with loved ones. Families unite, differences get resolved and happiness prevails. Christmas cards are exchanged and sent to extended families and well-wishers to express gratitude. To be remembered is a blessing in disguise. It brings families closer and rekindles relationships. People host bake sale or exhibit sale of Christmas cards to raise money for donations and charities. Christmas carols are sung to educate the generations about Jesus honouring his sacrifice and propagate his lessons to mankind.
Mamta Joseph, founder of salt ‘n’ light a gift shop which makes each soul happy, said “Christmas means family time for me. It means coming together it means giving- not just material gifts but giving quality time to one another, giving a listening ear, giving encouragement, giving something the other person needs.”
When I asked her what the Christmas tree meant to her she said “The Christmas tree symbolises life for me. The birth of Jesus which Christians celebrate is essentially about life. Isn’t it? 🌝 There is so much of fun and energy around this season- people make yummy food, there are festivities all around and so much life in homes and in malls and on the streets! So Christmas is all about life in abundance!” <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
onate with this thought so beautifully expressed by her , do check out her store at http://amzn.to/1VDMOfy<
Sharing a small video made by salt n light spreading the Christmas cheer 🙂
Lastly let’s not forget the real reason behind Christmas the Lord, Jesus Christ. I find solace in this prayer by St Francis of Assisi practiced in Twin Hearts meditation by GMCKS which I do regularly. This Christmas let’s not forget the less fortunate and bless them in our prayers too. Now that you know the true meaning of this festival , make this a christmas to remember.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.< em>Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!< em> That where there is hatred, I may bring love.< em> That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.< em> That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.< em> That where there is error, I may bring truth.< em> That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.< em> That where there is despair, I may bring hope.< em> That where there are shadows, I may bring light.< em> That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.< em> Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.< em> To understand, than to be understood.< em> To love, than to be loved.< em> For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.< em> It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.< em> It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. ————————————————————————–<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Happiness and sunshine,
P.S: I am awaiting my secret Santa gift too. You still want hints?
And a special thanks to all my readers for their contribution towards this post.<<<<<<<