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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chrismas the Great Inclusion; PART EIGHT

Christmas; The Great Inclusin
Part eight - The Giving

Our Puritan forefathers came to our fair country to escape the corruptness of the European church. They did not celebrate Christmas. They had no desire to participate in the inclusion of wild riotous parties and the like. For many years, their perspective held traditional celebrations in check. There still are Christian sects who refuse to celebrate the holiday.

It wasn’t until the 19th century until business decided to include Christmas as a new marketing tool to sell products. And it quickly became an instant hit. The Christmas season is now watched carefully as an extremely important financial indicator for our economy. The average American will spend $769 on gifts this year, according to Gallup. As long as middle class America can afford Christmas shopping, we are in good shape.

Yet, the word on the street from many is that we have “lost the true meaning of Christmas”. Just what is the true meaning of Christmas? Let’s review some important points:

- The original Jewish sect did not celebrate the birth of Christ. The significant Christian event was that of his resurrection. (By the way, that too is based on a pagan holiday celebrating the spring equinox.)
- When the birth of Christ was established, it was a random choice based on the popularity of a pagan Italian holiday.
- Every holiday tradition we practice has roots in various cultures of the world. All were originally non-Christian.
- The popular practice of exchanging gifts was maximized during the past two centuries by business. This has been good for our economies.
- All traditions we celebrate during Christmas time have inclusionary roots. Some are religious based. Most are not.

So, what is the true meaning of Christmas? It is a holiday of giving. It is a time when we spend our hard earned cash to give something of value to someone else. It is a season of song and the arts. It is a time for parties and happy socialization. It is a time to spend with family. Sure, the baby Jesus, pops in occasionally. And I suppose it is good to remember a poor man who taught of love, charity and grace. But our current holiday does not exist to celebrate the birth of its namesake. That does not take away from the message of giving, sharing, and sacrifice.

Our holiday is rich in inclusion. That is what I view in its celebration. There is spirituality in the commercialization through the gift giving. Love is in the air. To me, that is the true meaning of the season. I love the colorful decorations. I love my fake Christmas tree. I love to purchase and give gifts.

I suppose that if we truly can capture the sentiments of giving and sharing, we have instilled something of the teacher’s message into the holiday named for him. But I can absolutely guarantee you, that it is not a Christian holiday. It is one we celebrate with all people.

Copyright 2006 by Cindi Jones RSS feeds allowed

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