It seems every year, Christmas (or Christmas preparations) come sooner and sooner. Since when did I have to dig through Christmas home decor to get my sons Halloween costume? Is it just me or are stores putting Christmas stuff out way too early? Having worked in retail many years, I know Q4 (aka Christmas season) is the biggest and most profitable time of the year. Cue the choir, ‘It’s the most profitable time oooff the yeeear’! Doesn’t have quite the ring to it as ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ does it? But honestly stores are seeing dollar signs, making it rain! A dollar makes them holla! Ok, enough corny cliques. But seriously.
Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas?
What is Christmas google???
Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God.
The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The ‘Christ-Mass’ service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight! So we get the name Christ-Mass, shortened to Christmas.
Christmas is now celebrated by people around the world, whether they are Christians or not. It’s a time when family and friends come together and remember the good things they have. People, and especially children, also like Christmas as it’s a time when you give and receive presents!
The Date of Christmas
No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible, so why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? The early Christians certainly had many arguments as to when it should be celebrated! Also, the birth of Jesus probably didn’t happen in the year 1 but slightly earlier, somewhere between 2 BCE/BC and 7 BCE/BC, possibly in 4 BCE/BC (there isn’t a 0 – the years go from 1 BC/BCE to 1!).
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.
However, there are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.
A very early Christian tradition said that the day when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus (called the Annunciation) was on March 25th – and it’s still celebrated today on the 25th March. Nine months after the 25th March is the 25th December! March 25th was also the day some early Christians thought the world had been made, and also the day that Jesus died on when he was an adult. The date of March 25th was chosen because people had calculated that was the day on which Jesus died as an adult (the 14th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar) and they thought that Jesus was born and had died on the same day of the year.
Some people also think that December 25th might have also been chosen because the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals called ‘Saturnalia’ and ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’ took place in December around this date – so it was a time when people already celebrated things.
When did Christmas become a total retail nightmare? When did we lose sight of what really matters, like true family values and traditions? When did we let consumerism take over Christmas?
This Thanksgiving as I was doing my ‘black Friday’ shopping I began to think about all the tragic events that have unfolded in CA lately. And I began to feel guilty for being caught up in this madness and mayhem of Black Friday shopping.
I mean… One entire town was burned to the ground here in Northern CA, just an hour away from my home, thousands of people lost their homes, possessions, family members and pets in the recent Camp fire in Paradise, CA.. I thought about all the families that have nothing this holiday season. I thought about how they have to rebuild their entire lives, buy clothes, replace documents, find shelter, get new cars. All these things we take for granted every day are blessings.
Looking back and reflecting on 2018….
My family evacuated twice from the Carr fire and even had a fire on our street almost reach our house. I can’t help but feel grateful for all the things money can’t buy. Things like health, family, friends and a community that pulled together like no other. My family and I truly feel grateful and blessed this holiday season!
Here’s a fun activity for the kiddos this holiday season!
When they make their Christmas list have them also write a gratitude list of things they have and things they’re grateful for. This should be a fun way to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas!