The message is clear, but it is often lost in this, our age – an age of secular indulgence and commercialism that has little in common with the ideas Christmas is supposed to put across: humility, loyalty and hope. Christ, born into poverty, all the while remaining the Messiah – the King of Kings. The Virgin Mary, who said ‘let it be done to me according to your word’, listening to God whilst knowing the consequences of conceiving out-of-wedlock. And, lastly, the very fact that the Saviour of the World has been born, and has brought hope to everyone – from wise men to humble shepherds.
|ROBERT MONTERO: This is the meaning of Christmas|
This is the essence – the heart – of the season. Yet finding that meaning can be at the best of times a challenge. Indeed, there is a dislike with linking mass-celebrations to religious events. Such a move is scene as ‘fanatical’ and ‘offensive’. This is why the secular progressives are so concerned with the name ‘Christmas’ – Christ’s Mass is just too Christian for them. Hence, the Governor of Rhode Island feels ‘Christmas trees’ ought to be transformed into ‘holiday trees’, whatever that means. The apparent reasoning is that, if left simply as ‘Christmas tree’ the reference to Christ could be offensive.
This is, of course, an alibi, and a pretty bad one at that. 95 per cent of Rhode Island’s population is Catholic, so whom is the name ‘Christmas’ offending? Nobody. It could, though, be offending the Governor, and other Left Wing secular progressives like him, who long, more than anything, to obliterate the Christian part of Christmas forever.
You should mediate on this revolution that is unfurling in front of your very eyes – over the next few days, I hope you can see, as I do, the shocking effect this is having on the culture.
Of course, there are occasions when the Nativity Story is mentioned, but when that happens it is seen as no more than that - a 'story'. Over time this ancient event has turned into anther 'component' of Christmas, something to look out for amidst the presents and the lights. It is extra padding for the 'season', but nothing more. This is a problem. The Christmas Story needs to be seen, not as a 'component', that further fulfils our own, constructed image of Christmas - i.e. the season of warm fires and cause for celebration - but as the true essence of Christmas, as a real event that occurred, and that we remember on this day, December 25th.
Don’t get me wrong; the commercial element of Christmas is a good thing. Without the profit incentive Christmas would definitely not be all over the high streets the way it is now, and I am certainly not saying that Santa Claus should be banned, and Christmas trees taken down, because they have Pagan routes – that would be silly. What we must be cautious of, though, is altering the meaning of Christmas. What is Christmas all about? The modern individual might well say ‘getting together’, or ‘giving presents’, or ‘eating and drinking’. And that is all right, but it is not the *correct* answer. No, the correct answer would be this: Christmas is about the birth of Christ, and, more specifically, the nature of that birth – it is about humility, about new hope and courage, about beauty in simplicity. Indeed, these ideas then give rise to ‘getting together’ and ‘giving presents’, and even ‘eating and drinking (making merry)’, but at least we have determined their origins, at least we have acknowledged that Christmas starts with Christ.
So long as that acknowledgment is made, and so long as people remember it, and keep it in their hearts, Christmas will always remain ‘Christmas’, and not the ‘Holidays’. In the end, it is a great religious occasion, which brings up memories and allows us to be thankful that we are able to celebrate it, with friends and family, in the warm glow of our homes.
I do hope that the heart of Christmas is not lost in the future, and that its presence remains potent in the culture, and on the calendar. I really do wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.