Long Live Christmas

December 12, 2017

Christmas is more than a word, more than holidays. This word contains the whole world, the world of fairy tale and magic which returns to life during the long winter days. Family and friends greetings, smiles, music, gifts, glittering light on the streets and shining decorations at home, and kind wishes everywhere, heard even from officials, or sellers; it fills the air and seem to be so different from any other day or feast of the year.

Christmas is celebrated and known all over the world, and its primary association is with the birth of the Saviour, Christ. However, the religious interpretation goes far beyond respectful commemoration of Christ’s coming. First of all, it is birth, which is sacred across every culture and country. We celebrate the birth, the beginning which is invisible yet, and which is going to reveal its strength when the right time comes. Isn’t it symbolic, that the modern calendar has the beginning of a year in winter? Unlike the ancient cultures which celebrated the New Year in spring with its sun and nature rebirth, we mark the end and beginning in winter, when nature sleeps, and all is frozen. Is it because humanity realizes that the initial starting point begins far earlier, in invisible realms of ideas, before it will be fully realized and seen. Birth means development, growth, gaining strength, life, after all, that’s why the holiday is so important to remember the meaning of life.

Christmas is a unique combination of spirit and body, when you feel higher vibrations of heaven, and merge your sight in the smoke from frankincense in church, asking God for blessings and healing, and at the same time passionately anticipate wonder in love, dreaming of your sweetheart and a kiss under the mistletoe. At Christmas you more often think of unfortunate and help more willingly, take part in charity, gather cloths for homeless, toys for orphans, however, simultaneously place yourself in the hectic busy wheel of vanity, choosing cloths, rigidly checking menus and decorations for a party of family dinner.

It may be that this holiday, like many other Christian holy days, managed to combine in unique harmonious unity the Christian values of sincerity, compassion, and generosity, with the pagan passions for celebrations the turning points in nature, with which they lived in peace. No wonder, as winter in Roman Empire was initially the time for long feast of Saturnalia, marked by drunkenness, orgies and other extremes, like mutual replacing of masters and slaves, huge donations of rich to the poor, and celebrating folly. The Druids and Germanic peoples celebrated Yuletide, or winter solstice, honouring the newborn Sun. After hegemony of Christianity established, the ancient feast merged inside the Christmas rituals, and seems to continue living in many holiday’s traditions, as in Yuletide log, a carefully chosen log to be burnt in the hearth to bring good luck.

Another secret of Christmas is the aspect we not always realize but it may be the best to keep a tradition. It is childhood. Christmas is a birth of a child, and no matter how holy Jesus was, or how powerful the Sun gods were, as newborns, they are no more or less, than helpless babies. And children are the true masters of the holidays. All the decoration, firecrackers, sweets, chocolate Santas, bells, Christmas tree rains and toys, bright cartoons and naïve movies, is the domain of kids. Moreover, being so absorbed by business, accountancy, academic arguments and other serious staff, we cannot remain serious during the holidays, and this entire childhood world absorbs us completely, for days, an evening, or at least an hour, but it does. It wakes our tired, sleepy and barely visible inner child who demands game and merriment, joy and songs, dreams and adventures. It returns us to the childhood we had or… didn’t have but dreamt of. And I am pretty sure, that many serious people deep inside cannot help talking to Santa, asking him for gifts and believe in wonder. As before, being a small girl or a small boy and believing in dreams coming true.

The tradition of Santa and chimney socks with the presents is not only a wonderful holiday custom, but a perfect chance to give your children that wonderful feeling. Assuring them in existing of some supernatural forces which punish and reward, we are performing the most effective step which we can do to the next generation – trust in good, solid confidence in the necessity to maintain this good and improve the world. A simple fairy tale may build such a powerful foundation to the character, that it would be impossible to shake the belief in good and order, giving resilience to stand future injustice and hardships. And it doesn’t matter, that a grown-up child already learned that Santa doesn’t enter through the chimney, and his beard is fake. A true wonder is in the appreciation of those loving hands of parents who packed the gifts, and created a fairy tale for him, putting their heart in every small action. We grow and become “Santas” for others, and that is how Christmas works, being a concentration of kindness which shouldn’t be bottled or lost in emptiness but would spread itself in actions and remain in a human heart, preserving the stores of spiritual power and might.

Cold weather, severe frosts, deep snow which can harden and break the common routine, becomes less important and loses its destructive power during Christmas, allowing us defeating  depression, fear, and helplessness before the elements’ anger with the hope and joy, and illuminate the darkest days of the year with kindness from the heart. And maybe, it is time for winter to take at last a new name – Christmas.
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