What Does Christmas Mean To You

Posted on 24th December, 2021

I see people trying to talk about the ‘Real meaning of Christmas’ and I want to avoid saying that because it feels a bit like a competition, who can write or say the most meaningful thing about the season.


Christmas as we all know is best understood by children, they don’t have to work it out, they don’t need to be clever, it is a time to enjoy everything good and forget everything bad, ideally with good company.


I like to cast my mind back to our primitive roots and imagine what a midwinter festival would have been like before we had our modern ideas of religion. Lives were fragile then, our homes were refuges from a harsh world where predators roamed, and men of violence showed no more mercy than disease and famine. During the winter the cold was just one more danger to be overcome and the midwinter festival that I imagine is dominated by warm fires and hot food. Layerd upon that would be stories to cheer and comfort frightened worried people. It could be a time to reflect upon the losses and gains of the previous year and to find courage and strength for the year ahead.


Christmas then was made to serve man (like the idea of a sabbath) it was something that men owned and used to add richness to their existence. The Christmas stories and traditions we have today serve the same purpose, they encourage us to have hope, they help us reflect and they help us take courage for the future.


I’ve shown a picture of a Mosque in Lebanon lit up as part of the Christmas celebration in the nearby shopping area, whatever your faith a celebration is infectious and contagious, it draws people together across many boundaries. Here we can again learn something from the children.


This year when our news is still dominated by words of pandemic, Covid has taken over the media. Let us try instead to celebrate the life we have and our individual hopes for the future and together find strength to face the future, this will be more contagious and more infectious. After all our forefathers who gathered around the burning fire faced far worse problems, and we are their children, we are the result of their hopes for the future and we owe it to our children to give them celebrations that they will be able to pass on too.

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