We're in the midst of the Christmas frenzy. Everyone is thinking about gifts now that the days are getting shorter and the nights are becoming longer. When most people are asked what the holiday season means to them, they say “gifts” and “family.” After a relaxed day off spent watching a marathon of Christmas movies (which was great), I began to wonder: what can I do this Christmas to make a difference?
Before You Continue...
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The festive season
It's a lovely time for those who are surrounded by friends and family, and it's mostly designated for youngsters. This season, on the other hand, serves as a reminder of what individuals who are away from home, lonely, or sick don't have. Christmas is more than just a day for exchanging gifts; it is a time for joy and giving. It's a selfless time, where we forgive, take stock of what's important, and become ‘better' versions of ourselves. The spirit of Christmas is in the ‘togetherness,' it's in the thought to which you put into thinking about others, it's a selfless time, where we forgive, take stock of what's important, and become ‘better' versions of ourselves. It's the global ‘feel good' factor for those who aren't Scrooges, and you can't help but feel the love, even if you don't celebrate it.
Our basics kick in at this time of year, and we upgrade to a tight moral compass. With both presents and feelings, we become more altruistic, accepting, and generous. These principles should undoubtedly be there all year, but there's something special about the season, and being connected to your neighbors, being social, and sharing with others. We bake for others and give food as gifts… when else do we do this, and why is it solely designated for Christmas? It's a sense of belonging, a social framework that we follow, and we simply do what everyone else does… so make it excellent!
Let's make a difference in someone's life this holiday season. Recognize the needs of others, and it doesn't have to be about money; it might be as simple as helping them with their shopping, taking time to talk with them, being there for them, taking them to see relatives, cooking for them, or asking them in for a holiday feast. Volunteer and pay visits to the elderly, the homeless, or family members you haven't seen in a long time. Write a letter… a real one, in pen and ink… not an e-mail to everyone! Get personal, get honest, and be yourself.
At the spa…
Christmas is a busy time for Weavers because you want to unwind and see us while you're on vacation. Over the holiday season, our team will be hard at work to ease your'morning afters' and get you ready for the new year with a glimmer in your step. Weavers is, at its core, a family, and we'll be celebrating with chocolates and Christmas cheer throughout the team. Our home away from home, we're here for each other and for you, to lend a sympathetic ear and rebalance you.
We wish you a merry Christmas season on behalf of the entire Weavers' team. We believe that the Christmas spirit is present in all of us; all we need to do is awaken it.
What is the deeper meaning of Christmas?
Christmas. A lot of people are rolling their eyes. In an already overstimulated society, the pace quickens. Everyone is rushing to accomplish their jobs, gigs, and projects before Christmas.
Many individuals decry the festival's attitude, rail against its commercialization, and wonder why it is still held in a multicultural, multifaith country like Australia. But, in the end, most people cave to it, faithfully heading to family fireplaces on Christmas Day. A feast is held, and gifts are shared. Gifts are given to children in particular.
Why? Why does Christmas have such a stronghold on us, although the significance of other Christian festivals, such as Easter, has dwindled dramatically?
The reason for this could be that the meaning of Christmas is both primitive and global. A baby is born. Yes, he was a unique child, but only in the mythic sense, in which every child is uniquely at the center of the existential drama. Christmas commemorates and celebrates the fundamental truth of human birth: everyone is a born being, and everyone is born into a family. So, once a year, we are dragged back to our roots by the seemingly unstoppable force of Christmas.
What does Christmas really mean in the Bible?
The word Christmas, as well as the practice of setting aside a specific day to commemorate Jesus Christ's birth, are not mentioned in the Bible. There is no biblical commandment that says whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas.
Many Christians, on the other hand, do celebrate Christmas. The Bible gives them a reason to rejoice in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-21.
The angel Gabriel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would descend upon her, and she would conceive and have a son whom she would name Jesus. The Lord also communicates this word to Joseph, Mary's fiancé. Due to a worldwide census, they travel to Bethlehem, where Mary gives birth in a stable. Following this, the Lord sends an angel to inform shepherds herding sheep that the world's Savior has been born, and a slew of angels begin to praise God. The shepherds then proceed to see Jesus, who is laying in a manger, and they inform everyone they know about this wonderful news.
Another element of the story has men from the East arriving with valuable presents for Jesus two years after His birth. Matthew 2:1-12 contains this information.
Christians commemorate this tale during the Christmas season because they acknowledge the profound truths contained in this unique birth.
While Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible, we can observe characters praising God and celebrating the birth of the newborn King during the events of Christ's birth:
- At night, an angel of the Lord appears before shepherds and announces the birth of Jesus.
- Following the angel's proclamation, a slew of angels appear in the sky, worshipping and glorifying God.
- The shepherds leave their sheep to go see Jesus, who is resting in a manger, and then go to notify everyone that the Messiah has arrived.
- The shepherds praised God for everything they had heard and seen, as the angel of the Lord had told them.
- Two years later, wise men from the East arrive with gifts to commemorate the King of Kings' birth.
While this is not “Christmas” as we know it, the Bible reveals that Christ's birth was seen as a significant event, with angels and mankind alike praising God for sending down His one and only Son in the form of a baby. Isn't it true that we, as Christians, should rejoice in the fact that God came to live among us?
When you read the New Testament, you will notice that none of the apostles or early church leaders mention Christ's birth. Instead, they're observing the Lord's Supper and commemorating Jesus' death and resurrection. This is due to the fact that, historically and culturally, commemorating deaths was far more common than commemorating births.
Although the Bible does not mention Christmas, it is biblical to commemorate Christ's first coming and birth. When the shepherds learned of Jesus' birth, they worshipped God and told everyone they knew that the world's Savior had arrived.
Many of the Christmas traditions come from pagan origins; however, many of the Christmas traditions that Christians have adopted have been redeemed by honoring the significance of Christ's birth.
As Christians, we must be conscious of how much we engage in the Christmas season, but this does not preclude us from celebrating it.
One person believes that one day is more precious than another, while another believes that every day is the same. They should each be completely convinced in their own minds.
As Paul noted in Romans 14:5, one person's personal conviction to make a day more special is different from another's belief that all days are special. This implies that Christmas is a matter of personal choice.
How is Christmas pagan?
Though Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, the date and several of the behaviors we've come to identify with Christmas are really derived from pagan winter solstice celebrations.” Saturnalia, a feast commemorating the solstice, was held in ancient Rome.
Is Christmas based on paganism?
Humans as a species like drawing inspiration from many cultures, rituals, and traditions, and Christmas is no exception. Think again if you thought those warm and fuzzy traditions you grew up with were solely for Christmas! Kissing beneath the mistletoe, carolling, wreaths, and even gift-giving were all components of pagan festivities that were incorporated into early Christmas celebrations.
Decorating trees, feasting with family and friends, hanging socks by the fireplace, and drinking yourself crazy are all part of pagan past and sacred occasions. Most of the cultural characteristics we identify with Christmas, in reality, have pagan origins.
Who were the Pagans?
First and foremost, what exactly do we mean when we term “pagan”? This is a broad word that includes everyone from the Romans to the Scandinavian Norse. As Christianity spread over Europe in the early centuries of the Christian era, missionaries met a variety of people from various religious backgrounds and beliefs. All of these people and religions were grouped together under the umbrella name ‘pagan.'
Even while Christians wanted to spread their religion throughout Europe, they were fascinated by many of the pagans' customs and methods. They were clearly enthralled enough to adopt a number of those beliefs and practices as part of Christian celebrations!
The winter solstice celebration
Continue reading to see how Christmas is influenced by Roman, Celtic, Norse, and Druidic customs, among others (all pagan). At the time, all of these distinct communities celebrated the winter solstice, which happened to fall around Christmas time. People in the northern hemisphere commemorate the winter solstice (or the shortest day of the year) in the middle of December, which is why Christmas fell around the same time as a number of other pagan holidays.
The winter solstice was a significant event in pagan culture. Winter marked the end of the year's crop and the opportunity to enjoy the company of loved ones while taking a break from toiling in the fields, as they were predominantly agricultural people. During the winter, Pagans may cease farming and dedicate their time to worshiping their numerous gods and celebrating with people around them. Because winter in the northern hemisphere is known for being a dark, cold, and hungry season, the winter solstice was commemorated to keep people busy and happy until the sun rose again.
Let's have a look at some pagan rituals that have become associated with Christmas now that you have a better understanding of the origins.
Gift-giving and Saturnalia
Not only is December a month to commemorate the winter solstice, but the Romans also commemorated Saturnalia between the 17th and 24th of the month. This was a pagan celebration honoring Saturn, the agriculture god. The Romans would celebrate Saturnalia in the same way that we celebrate Christmas today: by dining, drinking, giving gifts, and being cheerful.
We spend a lot of money on Christmas gifts these days, but the Romans used to exchange little gifts for good luck. The concept was to provide a gift in the hopes of a bumper crop the next year. Instead of having long lists of gifts to give, the Romans just gave one gift to one other person. Giving gifts for good luck and prosperity became a multimillion dollar business somewhere down the road… isn't that funny?
Santa's image & Christmas stockings
Coca-Cola was mainly responsible for the development of our modern-day picture of Santa Claus, which features a red beard and a massive white beard. However, the tradition of an elderly man bestowing presents on children stretches back to the period of the pagans.
St. Nicholas, sometimes known as Father Christmas, was the patron saint of children, the impoverished, and prostitutes. St. Nicholas, who lived in the fourth century AD and wore a large beard and a long cloak similar to the Santa we know and love, was a kind bishop who was famed for providing gifts to the poor.
But there was another bearded old man named Odin who existed before St. Nicholas. Early Germanic pagan tribes worshipped this god, who was traditionally depicted as an elderly man with a long white beard and an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir whom he would ride through the heavens (much like Santa's reindeer). During the winter, children would stuff their booties with carrots and straw and put them by the fireplace for Sleipnir to eat. Odin would fly by and bestow small gifts in the children's booties, much to how we do with Christmas stockings today.
Santa Claus as we know him today is a mix of the charitable St. Nicholas, the gods Odin and Sleipnir, and Coca-distinctive Cola's red-dressed mascot.
While the Christmas carols we sing are indisputably Christian, the habit of going door-to-door singing to your neighbors is derived from a pagan practice known as wassailing. The amusing term derives from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael,' which means ‘excellent health.' Wassailers would go about their communities in small groups every year, singing loudly to ward off evil spirits and wish good health to all around them.
The traditional drink, made from mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, spices, and sugar, was served to every wassailing group. St. Francis was inspired by these joyful choirs and began the custom of Christmas carolling in the 13th century.
Kissing under a mistletoe
Have you ever considered the link between mistletoe and kissing? Surprisingly, the tradition may be traced all the way back to the pagans. Mistletoe was a favorite of the Romans and Celts, as well as the Druids and the Norse. It was regarded as a highly sacred herb that was used in a variety of pagan rites.
Mistletoe was used to honor Saturn in the Roman culture. They would perform fertility rites beneath sprigs of mistletoe to keep him happy yup, that's exactly what it sounds like! We've definitely toned it down in terms of mistletoe, leaving it with just a basic kiss – perhaps a smart idea given that family is always around.
Mistletoe was a sign of peace and joy for the Druids. If opponents met beneath woodland mistletoe during a conflict, they would lay down their weapons and arrange a ceasefire till the next day. Kissing is, in some ways, a type of ceasefire…
Decking the halls with holly
For pagans, mistletoe wasn't the sole sacred plant. Another sacred plant associated with Saturn was holly. Romans constructed holly wreaths to exchange as gifts for good luck during the Saturnalia feast. Early Christians began to celebrate Christmas around the time of Saturnalia, but they were severely persecuted for adopting their new religion. It was fortunate that Christmas fell on Saturnalia since it provided Christians with a cover for their Christmas celebrations.
Christians began hanging holly wreaths around their homes to escape detection and make it appear as if they were celebrating Saturnalia. They were able to recognize other Christians while still doing something pleasant to commemorate their holy day. As the number of pagans declined, holly became a symbol of Christmas rather than Saturnalia.
Christmas tree decorating
The Romans have certainly influenced us, and tree decorating is only another borrowed tradition! During Saturnalia, Romans not only feasted, drank, and exchanged gifts, but they also placed little metal ornaments on trees outside their dwellings. Each of these little ornaments was dedicated to a god, either Saturn or the family's patron saint.
During the winter solstice, early Germanic tribes practiced a similar tree-decorating tradition, this time with fruits and candles to honor the deity Odin. Christians seems to have combined Christmas tree decorating with ornaments, candles, and fruits into one spectacular celebration.
Is the Christmas tree pagan?
Christmas trees are generally connected with the Christian holiday, yet their roots are not as Christ-centered as they are today. Evergreens, or plants that remain green all year, have been revered in many civilizations for hundreds of years, but the custom was not always welcomed by Americans.
According to ABC News, Christmas trees were first used as a pagan ritual in the fourth century C.E. European pagans were mostly responsible for decorating their homes with evergreen fir tree branches to add color and light to their otherwise dark winters. However, pagans were not the only ones that did so. The branches were also utilized for adornment at the Saturnalia festival, which was held from December 17 to December 23 in honor of the God Saturn.
American settlers were slow to embrace the Christmas tree fad because of their pagan roots. According to the History Channel, German settlers were the first to introduce the indoor evergreen to the new country, but it did not go down well.
Why is Christmas bad in the Bible?
Finally, one thing I'd like to point out about Christmas's unscriptural foundation is that it is honored every year and is performed all across the world.
As Christians, the Bible is clear: we are not to love the things of this world, and we are not to prioritize one day over another. “Love neither the world, nor the things that are in the world,” 1 John 2:15 (KJV) says. “If a man loves the world, he does not love the Father.”
The fact that Christmas is celebrated all across the world should be a clear indication that it is not Biblical for Christians. “What is highly regarded among men is detestable in the sight of God,” Jesus remarked in Luke 16:15. However, Christians are commanded in Galatians 4:10-11 not to observe holidays such as Christmas because they are an abomination to the Lord God. “You observe days, and months, and times, and years,” it says. I'm terrified of you, lest I've wasted my time and effort on you.”
When was Jesus actually born?
The date of Jesus' birth is not recorded in the gospels or any historical sources, but most biblical scholars place it between 6 and 4 BC. Although the historical information is insufficient to provide a definitive dating, the year can be determined using one of three methods: (A) astrological or astronomical alignments, (B) working backward from the estimated start of Jesus' ministry, and (C) evaluating references to known historical events stated in the nativity stories in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Various methods, including the depiction of shepherds tending over their sheep, have been used to estimate the day or season.
Does Christmas honor Jesus?
The answer is simply NO. The Bible does not command us to observe a holiday commemorating Jesus Christ's birth, but it does command us to remember His death (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-28). Christmas isn't referenced in the Bible at all. Although this is self-evident, most individuals do not consider it.
Why Christmas is a pagan holiday?
During the mid-winter holiday in Germany, people paid homage to the pagan god Oden. Germans feared Oden because they believed he flew through the sky at night to survey his people and then decide who would succeed or perish. Many folks preferred to stay indoors due to his presence.