In the Christian calendar, we have two very special dates. One is Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, and the other is Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Of course we do have Good Friday, where we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. But generally, I mean two significant periods, one detailing the death and resurrection, and the other the birth of Jesus.
It’s been 2000+ years since the first Christmas. If we take the birth year of Jesus to be roughly 6/5 B.C, then it has been 2012/2011 years.
And in that time, the embodiment of Christmas has undergone a radical transformation.
But first, the historical origins of Christmas. I did some brief research regarding this issue. And I got quite a bit of interesting material. For those who have read the Da Vinci Code, or was it Angels and Demons? – can’t quite remember, there’s a mention there regarding Christmas originating from a pagan festival, and how early Christianity incorporated early culture, and all that nonsense, which then spins a web of lies about how Christianity is nothing more than a myth, blah blah blah.
Well. I have not been able to ascertain whether that is true. But most historians seem to agree that while the year of the birth of Jesus has been roughly pinpointed, the actual date of Jesus’ birth was not discussed until the fourth century. Some believe he was born in the spring, some in late summer/early autumn, some Jewish Christians claim it is March 25, 33 years to the date he died, and so on so forth.
But when it comes down to it, whether Christmas is really the accurate date of birth of Jesus or not, it is a symbolic event of the birth of Jesus. In other words, it sets aside a date, a period, where we can gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour 2000 years ago. After all, while we might debate about the actual dates, or the controversial origins of Christmas, there is no grounds to doubt that at some point in our history, God became man and dwelled with us.
Emmanuel. God with us.
Today, the world, through crass commercialisation, has distorted the true meaning of Christmas. It’s about presents. If you’re nice, Santa will give you what you want. If you’re naughty, Santa will send his evil sidekick to scare you/or give you coal – depends which side of the story you lie. Of course, we have those feel good movies, that Christmas is a time for the family to build stronger and deeper relationships, a value which I wholly endorse, but this good intent has shrouded the true meaning of Christmas. And for some, Christmas is just yet another holiday.
It’s a sad sad fact, that something as beautiful as this point in time, when God fulfilled His promise of sending His people a messiah who would deliver them, has been warped by worldly influences. Even the meaningful Christmas carols such as Joy to the World, or Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, have been reduced to mere Christmas jingles. So much so that it has lost much of its original meaning and significance.
The focus of Christmas is Jesus, Greek for “The Lord saves”. It is a new beginning.
I think I’ll conclude this first part with this quote:
“The beginning is the end is the beginning”.
Lol. That confounded me when I read it the first time. Wrap your head around that phrase for a few hours. And that concludes the first part of my weekend post.