Beyond the songs, the shopping and the spiritual rituals there are as many different meanings to Christmas as there are those of us doing the interpreting. I have met many people who are Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Bhuddists and others who all celebrate this holiday in Canada. If ever the claim could have been made by Christians those days are behind us. This is a very comforting fact to me and bodes well for world peace. The ritual of the winter solstice began long before the common Christian celebration we accept and expect today. Even the traditions of Christ follows the eons old fact that the earth revolves around a sun causing the shortest day in the northern hemisphere to be in December.
I love many aspects of the Christian celebration. I love the beauty and majesty of the buildings, the magnificence of the art, the inspiration of the music. And I remember that it is only one chapter of the story of the winter solstice.
I celebrate the event remarkably similarly to humans 35,000 years ago. I get together with friends and family, enjoy food and song and generally express good will towards other. It does not require a religion to create this for us but it certainly makes it fun and interesting to have their rituals. In my own faith I follow many rituals that I enjoy and I make up new ones as well. For example, I love the look of the Christmas tree. It is an old germanic tradition. It was originally hung upside down from the ceiling. I have yet to create this version but it is on my todo list for one of the years I choose to have a party. I also love to sing various versions of the carols of Christmas. I attend my friends concert each year and it is one of the highlights of the season for me.
And there are other important aspects to the festival for me. Even the colors of Christmas are important I believe. The red symbolizing the life blood in our veins and the green symbolizing mother earth and all she does to sustain us. The Christmas tree today points towards the universe, often pointing directly with a star atop the highest branch thereby lifting our spirits into the greatness of our environment. The adornments of the tree provide not just beauty to the beholder but also are remnants of the pagentry of Saturnalia wherein the ancient Romans (long before Christ) decorated their homes with green and exchanged gifts in celebration and interestingly enough this was also a time of peace where old quarrels were forgotten, all men were treated equally (not so sure about the ladies) and it was without question the most important holiday of the year to the Romans. So more than 2,500 years later we are in fact celebrating in similar fashion. The religions come and the religions go but the celebrations of humans for this time of year will most likely remain and seem consistent (freedom, love and peace towards all).
And so I go out to make merry again tonight (for the tenth time this month), comforted by the fact that hundreds of millions have done so before me and will continue to do so after me celebrating the true spirit of what we now refer to as Christmas, previously the Christ Mass of the “one true faith”, previously Saturnalia and I am sure something else before. We are healthy, we are provided for by the revolving ball we live upon and we believe that next year the sun will warm us and feed us and this is worth celebrating. And remember it is not important what aspect of this festival you choose to celebrate. There is no right version of Christmas, there are many versions of it, just make sure you are making this Christmas one that you love to live and to share with others who are important to you.