Views 74 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 25 - 2014 | By: Lauren McCoy
The meaning of the word “Christmas” is exactly what it sounds like: Christ’s Mass, intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the love he brings to the world. Of those likely reading this article, you Westmont folk, it is expected that you already know the story of His birth, so I will not go into too much detail on that matter. Interestingly enough, for a holiday so celebrated across the world, an increasing number of people may not understand the Gospel base of Jesus’ story, or why it is even important.
The figurehead, or figurine, which many people think of today when it comes to Christmas is Old Saint Nick. Saint Nicholas was born around 280 A.D. near present day Turkey. Well-known for his care and generosity towards others, he became a favorite saint of children and sailors. By the 1820s his legend had spread to America, and stores began advertising “Santa Claus” in their Christmas shopping sections as a way to increase spending. The society we live in today came to be from these first advertising attempts.
Christmas has become about shopping and spending. Thanksgiving has even begun to be altered by the tearing away from the true meaning of Christmas, as people leave their dining tables earlier and earlier on the fourth Thursday of November to snag deals. Though Christmas was once about the birth of the Jesus Christ and an opportunity to express one's Christian faith, it has morphed into a season of competition.
People are trampled after camping out in front of stores into the wee hours of the night, only to find that the 60-inch LED-voice-activated-touchscreen-mindreading television for 19.9 percent off has already sold out. Parents rip the hottest Barbie doll out of the hands of another just to be able to boast that they got their little Jane the gift at the top of her list.
The symbols of Christmas have become so warped that these acts of insanity over things have become the norm. It is all in good spirit to give those you love nice things, but the extreme lengths people take have twisted what was meant to be a celebration into something that could be in a Hunger Games scene.
Even if someone doesn’t celebrate Christmas in a way that recognizes Jesus’ birth, they should still remember that the holiday is meant to be a time of peace and harmony in the home; a time that is blessed by love and quality time with the ones you love. I come from a home where Christmas was not about Jesus, but it also wasn’t about gifts. Christmas for me was, and still is, about the wondrous smell of a fresh tree, watching the cats bat at the ornaments, and sipping hot cocoa while listening to Frank Sinatra's lovely seasonal tunes. It’s about putting on footie pajamas on Christmas Eve, and leaving cookies and milk out, expecting them to be partially gone by the morning.
What’s most important in this season, and all seasons really, is that you show each other love, and give what you can. Don’t compete with others over who gives or gets the better gift, and don’t be concerned with who’s stocking was more full. Enjoy the time you have with one another and remember the true Saint Nicholas, a person of piety and kindness.
Even if you’re unsure of where you are in your own spiritual journey, remember the story of Jesus, and why Christmas is even a holiday today, because someone in your life has sacrificed for you, and be thankful for what they have done.