December 22nd, 2011 22:37 EST
All I Want For Christmas Is: God? Money and Gifts
Yes, Christmas originated as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but the meaning and purpose of Christmas has gradually changed with the times, expanding to encompass and become something else, something more than just Jesus. Christmas traditions vary to suit our preferences and prerogatives. This holiday means, or can mean, whatever we want it to mean. It serves as a reason for people to congregate in good cheer and festivities, paying tribute to each other; an opportunity to revel in the company and compassion of loved ones. Christmas is not only about Jesus anymore, if at all, and it needn`t be. It`s not just for Christians anymore.
We`ve adapted it to suit our culture. Now, it`s a holiday whose relevance goes beyond one man and seeks to embrace and incorporate all people in a communion of love among family and friends. Christmas has been made more inclusive and accommodating for anyone and everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, or lack thereof. It doesn`t matter what you believe in, everyone is welcome to join the celebration.
Surely, God can respect that.
Even if Santa Claus has assumed pre-eminence in the hearts and minds of the majority children, usurping God`s position as the deity of choice. Now the kids pray to (and prey on) Santa, the god of free swag. Santa, The Patron Saint of GIMME. As long as you`re wishing, maybe one god is as good as another.
The fact that Santa Claus has become so equated with Christmas is a revealing statement about America`s prominent Capitalist consumer mentality. It`s appropriate that the entrenching and proliferation of Santa in American culture was secured in his association with advertisements for Coca-Cola (an intrinsically American product), in 1931.
The word holiday " derives from the union of two other words: holy day.
Christmas is founded on the precept of being a holy day, a day that has religious or spiritual significance to those who recognize it as such.
Whether acknowledged religiously or secularly or some degree of both, what is most important in Christmas is the spirit of the holiday:
peace on Earth and goodwill towards Man.
Which, I think, signifies the fundamental essence of Jesus, either as The Son of Man or The Son of God.
Christmas has been collectively appointed by and for those who participate to take & make time to remind ourselves and each other " at least for a short while-- to care for and care about and enjoy our fellow Man, and perhaps to compensate and atone for our misdeeds and transgressions against those we love. The act of giving and receiving gifts is intended as a token expression of affection and appreciation. In the name and spirit of the holiday, random acts of kindness and charity are generally more prevalent. At its core, in its pure form, these things are what contemporary Christmas is about.
So, although we may not celebrate or declare Jesus consciously or explicitly, we do honor his legacy in the Christian faith and tradition when we are true to that Christmas spirit.
Too often, though, we allow our juvenile Capitalistic tendencies of consumerism, commercialism and competitiveness to dictate terms and distract us from this vital point, and we forget to accentuate the positive within and around us.
For many of us, Christmas becomes more concerned with spending lots of money and getting stuff " for ourselves than focusing on good will, camaraderie and giving to others. Unfortunately, tradition of Christmas is now commonly a routine, habitual and obligatory performance, as people blindly and hollowly go through the motions because they think they`re supposed to, because it`s that time of year ".
Many of us give gifts because we think we have to or are supposed " to, as well as to placate and buy peoples` affections, or even because we think we owe something, rather than simply for the pleasure of giving because we sincerely care and want to give, and can. The essential meaning and relevance of Christmas is frequently lost on many of us, these days. Much of the Christmas celebrating population, particularly in America, seems to engage Christmas as a burdensome hassle, chore, duty or competition, experiencing little or no joy in it. They`ve lost the meaning of Christmas.
There are people who insist that Christmas must be, or is supposed to be ", a certain way. They may even pettily stress the politically " correct " propriety of holiday greetings, and inanely fret over how we ought to " express the sentiment of this holiday, getting foolishly offended because the platitude does or doesn`t implicate God or Jesus. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Season`s Greetings.
Peshaw! Let`s not bother ourselves with irrelevancies.
These are merely words. They mean no more or less than we attribute them. Ultimately, it doesn`t really matter how we phrase it, as long as we don`t miss the point of it. What matters in this case is the idea they intend to represent " congeniality.
Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night.