Something to keep in mind
|The holiday season is once again upon us, and as we take to the malls and the outlet centers looking for that elusive grand bargain on the perfect gift, we should stop one moment and reflect on the true meaning of this season.
For many years, it has been argued that Christmas is a Christian holiday. After all, the word literally translates from Latin as “Mass of Christ”. In fact, the word “Holiday” even belies this assumption, for at its root lies the term “Holy Day”.
But Christmas is more than just a Christian holiday. Christmas is a holiday for everyone; Christian, Jew, or Muslim, Atheist or Agnostic, Pagan, or one of the many eastern religions. It is because Christmas is a message to the world, a message that transcends any single school of thought or ethnic tradition.
Many in our world today have forgotten, but Christmas is a festival of contradictions. It is a celebration of new life and the culmination of a long journey, a message of hope in a time of despair. It is a gift of eternity in temporary packaging. It is a message of salvation presented through the highest of sacrifices.
It is the promise of a new beginning at a time when it seems that everything is coming to an end. The year is over, the landscape is looking bleak, animals are hibernating, and plants are dormant. The earth is in retreat, and along comes an amazing gift of life – a child, and the hope that better things are soon to come.
Christmas also teaches us that celebrations are best when held among those with something new to share. The Holy Family was Jewish. The three Wise Men were most likely Hindu and Arabic. Bethlehem, although a smaller city at the time, was a center for trade, bringing together people from around the known world at that time.
As we enter this most awe inspiring season of seasons, let us focus not on the hottest toy, or the separation of religions. Let us, instead, focus on the hope of better things to come, for all humanity, no matter where you are. In the words of Luke:
“Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”
Glory, peace, and hope, be with you, no matter what your faith.
Merry Christmas ~