What is Christmas ? How do we celebrate and why ?
There seems to be a collective will to have a celebration at this time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere, from time immemorial. As society evolves, the meaning behind the holiday changes also. We have celebrated the solstice, Saturnalia, the birth of Jesus, just to mention the ones I know about. It is not very likely that Jesus was born at this time of year – the church decided on the date so as to Christianize the saturnalia celebration, similar to going about carving crosses on standing stones. But can we do otherwise than to work with what we have, to transform what exists into something better ? Many of the holiday traditions have their origin in pagan beliefs. Is that grounds for rejection ?
It isn’t even the fact of Jesus’ birth that is most important – it is how He lived His life. He put His Steps into God’s Steps and showed us that it is possible for a human to ascend.
These days there is a lot of Santa Claus accompanied by more and more mythology concerning him. Sometimes I wonder if people aren’t getting Santa mixed up with God – he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows if you’ve been bad or good ! He is becoming something similar to a Greek or Roman god.
People go out of their way to create some kind of fairytale land for their children, full of extravagance, but artificial, on the surface, built on lies. Why don’t we create a real world of paradise ? A world where each one is cherished, nourished, encouraged to make the best of themselves, a world where people share and make peace. There have been times when people have made enormous efforts in this direction for December 25th. Why not all year long ?