In response to the hue and cry to put Christ back in Christmas. As a Christian, I look forward each year to the beginning of Advent, to Handle’s “Messiah,” the celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas Day, as well as the 12 days of Christmas culminating in Epiphany.
However, I always chuckle when I hear the frequently preached sermon, “Let’s put Christ back in Christmas” and similar pleas like “this is the Christmas season not the holiday season.”
This holiday season has been going on long before 340 AD when the early Christian fathers, who really didn’t know the month of Christ’s birth, much less the day, decided to usurp the Winter Solstice celebration that was already going on, the latest of which was the Roman Saturnalia Festival and decided that Dec. 25, would be the day we celebrate his birth.
The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and the shortest day of the year, is a time of celebrating light, of celebrating life, it is the promise that in the cold and dark of winter there is the promise of light and life in the spring. The lights and the evergreen trees that become part of our homes are a reminder of this light and life.
This holiday season is a magical time of year. Some say they were disillusioned with Christmas when they think they found out Santa Claus was not real, he was just our parents, but the magic of this season is that there really is a Santa Claus, it’s the spirit of giving.
Each year at the holiday season we meet at the intersection of three great traditions and from each we receive gifts. One is the gift of light, symbolized by the Menorah of Chanukah to lighten our way, another is the gift of Christ, of loving one another and from Santa Claus, the gift of giving. Let us celebrate all three gifts.
Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Lee A. Woods