Monday, December 22, 2008
What Has Happened To Christmas?
I don't like what Christmas has become. It was originally proclaimed a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yet...it's very unlikely that he was born in the winter.
Was Jesus born on December 25?
Was Jesus born on December 25? There is no evidence for this date. So then, who decided that Jesus' birth would be celebrated on that date? The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus' birth. It wasn't until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. Saturnalia was a tradition inherited by the Roman pagans from an earlier Babylonian priesthood. December 25 was used as a celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It was observed near the winter solstice.
The apostles in the Bible predicted that some Christians would adopt pagan beliefs to enable them to make their religion more palatable to the pagans around them. Therefore, some scholars think the church chose the date of this pagan celebration to interest them in Christianity. The pagans were already used to celebrating on this date.
The Bible itself tells us that December 25 is an unlikely date for His birth. Palestine is very cold in December. It was much too cold to ask everyone to travel to the city of their fathers to register for taxes. Also the shepherds were in the fields (Luke 2:8-12). Shepherds were not in the fields in the winter time. They are in the fields early in March until early October. This would place Jesus' birth in the spring or early fall. It is also known that Jesus lived for 33.5 years and died at the feast of the Passover, which is at Easter time. He must therefore have been born six months the other side of Easter - making the date around the September/October time frames.
OK....since many people besides Christians celebrate Christmas maybe we can see it as a way of spreading love and giving. Well screw that idea. Why should Christmas be the only time for giving? Give to the poor, donate to the Salvation Army, buy gifts for the kids on the Angel trees, donate to the food pantry...well you get the idea. To me this says....we don't care about the poor the rest of the year as long as they get their Christmas gifts, turkey dinner and tree. Once it's over they are in for a big let-down because everyone goes back to not caring. People seem to be much nicer this time of year. Why not spread it out over the whole year?
Then there is the CONTEST.
Who can get their kids the most expensive gifts or the most gifts? Who can have the best, biggest, brightest light display? Never mind that it's a waste of electricity and a burden on the resources of our Earth. We gotta keep up with the Joneses, or better yet outdo the Joneses. The way I see it is that expectations are out of control. In the past people were satisfied with a few strings of white lights on their houses, a few gifts under their tree and a simple Christmas meal. What has become of that simple Christmas meal? In the past I've been on a few women's message boards and I see them post what they are cooking. They are cooking maybe 15 different things and 5 or 6 desserts. They are cooking enough food for 20 people and then they mention that all that food will be just for the 4 of them. I like to cook enough to have some leftovers and make some soup but really...it's just getting ridiculous. Every year is gets worse. If this is how it is today I wonder how it will be 10 years from now or even 5 years. It's just getting too out of control.
Then there is the PRESSURE.
We are pressured to spend, spend, spend. We are pressured to keep up with everyone else. We are pressured to buy that *must have* toy for little Johnny who already so many toys in his room that there's not place to put any more. Do you feel this pressure?
I don't understand why people put so much stock in one day of the year or why they make it such a priority. After all the decorating, shopping, cooking and cleaning does anyone really appreciate it? Is it really worth it? That is the question we must all ask ourselves. I think it's time to bring back the real meaning of Christmas. LOVE. Love instead of consumerism. Love instead of greed. Love instead of commercialization. Just LOVE.
Peace and Blessings to you all on this season of LOVE.