Over two thousand years ago it is recorded in the Bible that three men, called Magi, Wise Men, Kings, made a long journey, guided by a divine light in the heavens, to find and worship and honor a new, young King. They carried treaured gifts from their lands, beautiful gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all symbolic and all very special. They completed their journey and returned to their lands.
Christmas, or CHRIST’s Mass… how do you see this holiday, or is it still more to you a holy day?
Giving gifts, sharing a meal, being with family and friends and one’s colleagues, are long traditions during this that we call “the holidays”, which now for most Americans begin even before Thanksgiving, when many stores start to put out trimmings and things for that special day even around Halloween. All mercantile, all celebratory, all for sharing and for good times.
Having a good time is for many one objective, on a day off from the workplace, from the obligations we have to others not our family during the week, so we can sit down, cook, share times with friends and relatives we do not see that often. Wonder then if those three Kings shared some good times during their long journey, if they had a chance to see people they had not seen in a long time.
The holidays can be great and inspring, lovely and cherished or, depending on so many circumstances, the holidays can be downright trite and annoying, a nuisance and a leader to depression and SAD. These holidays, two months’ worth almost, can wear us down with the playing of the same music, the up and down news talk of the positives and the negatives of the “season”, the haves and the have -nots that we either must take donations from or help with volunteering time, giving food and giving other resources so they can “have Christmas”.
What do we really need to “have Christmas”, or to ensure that someone has a “merry” Christmas? Do we truly need the presence of all these “toys” that now come with so many warnings and are made with poisonous materials and colors or hazardous parts? I wonder. Toys for the adults can be just as bad as the toys for the kids – if we do not know how to use what we have in the proper way, we do not need the new car, the new cooking equipment, or the new hockey gear. After all, toys of any type and for any age group are material things, short term and short in providing pleasure. Soon something breaks, a layer of color wears off, or one is bored with the item and goes off to find something else to occupy one’s time.
It seems we need to go on this man-made idea that everything has to be done, rushed about and completed BY the 25th of December. Well, that isn’t always necessary, and for many it cannot always be done. First Responders and others have to work on these days and cannot rush out just to shop and deal with crowds and finding parking spaces and get it all in before a certain day comes and goes. In Christian tradition, December 25th happens to be exactly nine months after the day designated as the Immaculate Conception, March 25th in the Christian calender. And anyone knows what can happen in a nine month time- the conception and birth of a child.
But just think, those Wise Kings spent almost two years on their journey, according to the accounts that speak of Jesus being possibly around two years old and of King Herod ordering the slaughter of infants of age two and under. Those Kings followed the star or whatever celestial event was going on at that time, till their mission was accomplished. What is our rush then, in having to take everything in a single month or so, to rush out, to fight crowds, to push ourselves at airports and on the highways, to lose sleep over what to get someone or what we might get, to pick over the stores in the hope that we will happen to find something our folks will enjoy? What is our hurry to get it all done by a certain day?
As for having a “white Christmas”, now come on folks. That is one part of one song made up just as all songs are, for a season or occasion. It seems irregular to focus so much attention on hoping everyone has a “white Christmas”, when many people on this planet have never seen snow or sleet or ice and live in places where that is not likely to happen. Christmas is fine celebrated around the world with traditions that make it special, but some things are best left to the archives, like terms as “white Christmas”, tracking Santa with NORAD, and using trite carols as background music for automobile ads (or in other ways using what is supposed to be sacred in order to have material gain).
It is grand to honor life in all its special beauty and grace, just as the Wise Men honored the birth of Jesus. What did they do? They knelt and opened their gifts, despite finding the Holy Family in a stable, the new King in a manger surrounded by animals and farm smells and this wonderful divine light. They followed the light to where the new King was, and gave Him due respect and dignity. There is no record of them waiting until the Christ was better dressed, installed in a proper palace of gold and ivory, with his parents stunningly robed and coiffed and the family surrounded by more servants than had Solomon or the Queen of Sheba. No, they, these three royal friends, went ahead with their mission and followed the angelic advice to avoid Herod and go home by another way.
Christmas (pronounced in the lay and secular way “krissmiss”), or Christmas (the religious and Biblical beginning thereof), the holiday where we have time off from work and watch sports and eat, or the holy day where we remember what the birth of Christ is symbolic of and what we can learn from that historic event… what does Christ… CHRIST… Christmas… mean to you?
Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.
- Emmanuel (findingchristinchristmas.wordpress.com)
- A Clear, Cold Night (canadafreepress.com)
- The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem (flyoverpress.wordpress.com)
- How Christmas Can Save Us From the Fiscal Cliff (incrediblygoodnews.wordpress.com)
- News to be shared with all people: Christ is born! (fsdm.org.uk)
- Merry Christmas Living (socyberty.com)
- The holidays are only holy if we make them so. (divinelightblog.wordpress.com)