Saturday, 22 December 2012

The 'real' meaning of Christmas.

It is often easy to get caught up with everything going on at Christmas and forget to slow down and think about what Christmas really means. Now the boys are getting to an age they understand a little I want to try and instill a little in them about Christmas not just being about stuff and presents. Which has led to me thinking about my own view of Christmas.

In nearly every shop we go in people ask the big boy what he is getting for Christmas, the litle one if he is excited (he hasn't got a clue), whether they have been good for Father Christmas and so on. There are lots of gorgeous Christmas trees as well as the over the top full on tacky flashing houses. A local church is having a Christmas party with a giant Kangaroo rather then Santa?! (Why has a Kangaroo got any more to do with the birth of Jesus then a big man in a red suit?)

But is Christmas about the birth of Jesus? The bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Jesus birth, but it does tell us to remember his death and resurrection. Christmas is in large, a take over of pagan celebrations of Yule and the solstice, and the roman celebration of  saturnalia which involved gift giving and is thought to be where the tradition of cards comes from too.

I don't think we shouldn't celebrate Christmas because of that though. I don't feel the need to throw out my tree or not give gifts. I think that the navity is a great focus at Christmas and looking to the birth of Jesus is a good moment to reflect on what we believe.

For me I think Christmas is a time to be thankful to God for my family, a celebration with friends for the good things he has given us, as well a being thankful he came to earth. As to the 'real' meaning of Christmas, I think that is a bit more complicated, and a question I'm not sure of the answer to.