Monday, December 22, 2008

What is Christmas?

I recently heard an advertisement where a little boy asks, “Mummy, how magical is Christmas?”. His mum replies, “Christmas is so magical, that fairy tales come to life in a wonderland”.

First of all, I absolutely hate advertisements where a little boy will ask his mummy a stupid question, and his mummy will reply him with a stupid answer. Secondly, now there are FAIRY TALES involved in Christmas? How much more can Christmas be distorted?

I love Christmas season. I love Christmas decorations. I love Christmas carols. I love the whole feel of Christmas. But deep down inside I’m wondering whether people actually know what Christmas is about. To most people, it’s about Santa Claus, a red nose reindeer, a frosty snowman and receiving lots of presents. It the time of the year where shops offer crazy sales, and people overspend on shopping. A time when restaurants charge super expensive Christmas Eve dinners which for some reason, people are willing to pay. It’s a time when people wear santa hats and go crazy on Christmas Eve, partying the night away.

But why are these people so happy that Christmas is coming?

Christians believe that Jesus came to this world to save mankind. And Christmas day is supposed to be the day when Jesus was born. As told in the Bible, Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem and because there was no more room in the inns they had to stay in a stable and that's where Jesus was born. He was wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger.

After Jesus was born, a group of shepherds led by an angel and 3 wise men led by a star came to visit Jesus to give their offerings to the new born king. This is why a star or an angel is usually placed on top of a Christmas tree.

I remember when I went to school in England, there will always be a play about the story of Christmas and I would hope to get the role of one of the angels because they looked so pretty. Instead I got the role of one of the shepherds (as you can see, the costume wasn’t so pretty :P).

Anyway, that is the real story of Christmas… or is it?

There’s actually no evidence of Christmas celebrations in the Bible or in the history of the early church. Christmas day actually came from pagan origins. I was quite shocked when I found out. I knew that 25th December isn’t the exact day that Jesus was born but I never knew that Christmas day came from pagan origins. Ancient Rome used to celebrate the 25th of December festival honoring the sun god Mithras. As a way to spread Christianity and to compete against the pagan festivals, the Roman Christians chose 25th December to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, proclaiming that Jesus is the true light of the world.

However, no matter how Christmas originated, the meaning of Christmas still stays the same. It’s not just about receiving gift that you wanted, or partying until you’re drunk on Christmas eve or an excuse to go on a shopping frenzy. The original message of Christmas is about giving unselfishly to others, just has how Jesus gave his life to save us. Christmas is about sharing and forgiving others (and maybe even yourself) and remembering those who are less fortunate than us. And to the Christians, Christmas is in a way, is saying a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jesus (whatever his real birthday may be). :)

So whatever Christmas means to you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!~


Tan Shu-Yin said...

u look so cute in the shepherd's costume. :D

to me, christmas is a time when u spend with ur family or close frens...u give thanks and be grateful for all that u've got. smtg similar to Thanksgiving.

merry christmas!