You among many others might be wondering what is Christmas spirit about? It seems that there are so many people today only concentrate on the gifts, food and fighting to whom Christmas celebration actually belongs to.
There has been so much arguing about Christmas the last years. The weeks heading up for Christmas are really getting on my nerves. People are slacking off each other, sharing memes such as this:
It has become politically incorrect to say merry Christmas, because not everyone celebrates this holiday and at the same time it has become the Christians way of waving a card in front of others saying: Christmas is my holiday, not yours.
But let’s examine the celebration of Christmas closer for a moment. How did Christmas come to be? What is the message of Christmas and what is Christmas spirit about?
What Is The History Of Christmas?
Before Christmas day 25th of December become a celebration of Jesus’ birthday around 273 AD, it already had a long tradition in Europe, with it’s own traditions and customs.
Why was this particular day selected? Well, the early Christians wanted to eradicate the old religions in the places they converted into Christianity and one of the way doing so, was taking an old celebration and simply giving it a new meaning. There is no evidence to indicate that Jesus was actually in fact born on this particular day.
Yule, was a 12 day celebration for the winter solstice, day when the days start to get longer, before it became the Christian Christmas.
Yule man is still known in some of the Nordic countries and he was the feared spirit of the forest, Odin or some other God depending on the local tradition. He was the bearer of the gifts, riding on a goat.
Christmas was long time celebrated as a drunken festival, which was based on eating and drinking alcohol. In fact it was so unchristian that is was banned in US and England in the 17th century by the puritans. Only during the 19th century did Christmas once again become a popular celebration.
However some pagan traditions stayed and they have not much to do with Jesus’ birth, although some are linked to early Christianity.
As with any celebration, it’s traditional to have plenty of food and drink available. Food varies from country to country and region to region, but remains more rich and varied that food enjoyed at other times throughout the year.
The modern Christmas tree is traced to Germany, where Tannenbaum was brought into the house as part of the Lutheran Christmas tradition around the 16th century. It was decorated with edible things such as apples, gingerbread and toffee.
It is often thought that the Christmas tree had it’s traditions in the winter rites, as both the Vikings and Saxon worshiped trees, especially the ever greens, which never lost their green color during the winter months.
Santa Claus and Presents
Santa Claus is modeled after a Spanish or Turkish bishop, depending on the legend, turned into catholic saint Saint Nicholas, who was famous for giving gifts and sweets to children. In a lot of countries Saint Nicholas is celebrated on the 6th of December and this is the day children will receive their gifts.
In other countries Santa Claus, who variably lives on the Polar Pole or in Finnish Lapland, has replaced this tradition, and he bears the presents either on 24th of 25th depending on the local tradition.
In the Nordic countries the whole Christmas still carries the name yul, or jul, indicating it’s origins in the pagan customs. Additionally the Saint Nicholas tradition never took off and the Santa Claus is still called with the name of Yule man (Christmas man).
In France you still enjoy a traditional bakery during the Christmas called Yule Log (Christmas log), in other countries this is a particular log of wood, burned in the fire place for the Christmas celebrations.
What Is The Message Of Christmas?
According to the Christian religion, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ the savior. He was born to Maria and Josef, in a barn in Nasareth on Christmas eve. This birth was marked by a Christmas star and everything was witnessed by angels and herders.
Three wise men followed the star and visited Jesus and his parents bearing gifts. This what it says in the Bible, the holy book of Christians. And this is why Christians say they exchange gifts, in some countries gifts are exclusive traded on three kings day.
The same message is repeated in some forms in the corresponding holy books of various other religions. Muslims and Latter Day Saints also recognize Christmas as the birth day of Jesus.
What does this teach us about the message of Christmas? According to the Bible, Jesus was born, because God loved us so much, he sent his only son to Earth, so we could find forgiveness and peace for our sins. He gave us the ultimate gift on Christmas.
Does this means we should fight among each other about who Christmas belongs to? I don’t think so. I always thought the message of Christmas was that of hope, faith and pure, unconditional love!
What Is The Christmas Spirit About?
We can donate or we can help by sharing the information about what is really happening in the world and donating money where it is really needed? Wouldn’t this display the spirit of Christmas better?
How about instead we started sharing pictures and memes on social media depicting the faces of children that go hungry, so we start to think how important it is to redistribute the food resources on this planet more evenly.
I don’t only mean the children in Africa or Asia or war ridden countries, but even in your own communities. There are children who’s growth and learning is inhibited by lack of nutrition.
Give food to children, they are our hope for future. Here is a good place to start: Unicef
How about helping the Sioux tribe, who are bravely fighting in the middle of snowstorms for the right of clean water for their tribe and millions of other people living in the downstream of a river, which is about to be polluted by the Dakota Access Pipeline?
Or in general taking a stand on any of the environmental issues, this planet is facing? I have written an article about everything that is near to my heart, you can read it here: How To Protect Earth
One of the most important things that comes to my mind, are all the people suffering in the war zones. They homes are being destroyed and they have nowhere to go. Nobody wants more refugees, because of inherit problems with clashing of Western and Eastern cultures.
The children who lost their parents, the people who lost their homes, the hospitals that are out of supplies and markets that are empty of food and warm clothing for the winter. Schools that have no more teachers and materials. How about we send them the spirit of Christmas to help out what we can? Unicef Emergencies – Syria
For me this is what Christmas spirit is truly about! Not fighting amongst ourselves whether Christmas is only a Christian holiday and others shouldn’t celebrate it, or worrying about offending someone how we send them greetings during this special time.
How about instead of sending memes like this, indicating we are somehow better than others and more entitled to the message of Christmas than others, because of our faith. we truly send the spirit of Christmas around the world:
Peace on Earth, Love, Understanding and Compassion!
Christmas should be full of warmth, laughter, happiness and joy. It should be time for giving and serving, time of remembering those who suffer in silence and help those in need of your assistance.
Here is a good start, listen to it and think about it. I hope you will find it in your heart to agree with me and send the Christmas spirit to everyone despite their religion!
One of the traditions I keep onto at Christmas is to make a wish to the Christmas star. This Christmas my wish is that you find it in yourselves to stop fighting and find a way to peace:
Go and make someone happy this Christmas!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know your favorite place or cause to send some spirit of Christmas to!
ॐ Love and Christmas Spirit,