The other day I was reading an article by a non Christian person about their experience growing up with Christmas, and in the article, the person said that “… Christmas is a secular holiday in the US anyway” and for some reason that statement offended me. I am by no means a Religious man. Although I was christened in the Roman Catholic Church and went to Roman Catholic primary and secondary schools, I was always allowed the free will of religious practice, by my parents and even by the schools. Religious studies classes were not compulsory believe it or not. I attended in any case, not because of any Religious calling, but out of curiosity. I did my first communion but was never confirmed in the church. By the time I was a teenager I began to question a lot of things about the church teachings, and I have the distinct honor of being the only boy to be thrown out of Religious studies in the history of my secondary school. I asked a simple question that challenged the teachings of the church, and offended the priest. That’s another story though.
Through out my life I never followed any religion. I lightly studied the other religions and garnered from them what I thought were the salient points. I always refer to myself as a spiritual man when any one asks me what is my religion, but deep down inside though, I am still a Christian. It’s what I grew up learning, and although I thought a lot of the teachings were against my beliefs, it is basically my basis for spiritual belief.
I don’t celebrate any of the Christian holidays except for Christmas. I love Christmas, and I always did. I never loved it for the gifts, because I was one of those strange kids that never wanted anything or eagerly awaited gifts. I loved Christmas for the symbology of what it meant. I never saw it for the commercialism it has become, but for the message of “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men”.
Deep down, that’s what Christmas is all about. And unless you have celebrated it in its spiritual sense, you will never understand the feeling of joy and warmth that the season brings. There is a sense of love and hope and happiness that happens in your soul for those weeks beginning from just before Thanksgiving to Christmas’ end on January 6th. And to the writer of the article, no, Christmas does not begin at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve and end at 6:00 pm on the 25th No matter what, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, whether you believe it of not.
The author of the article also went on to say that despite their family not being Christian, they had Santa Claus and they got gifts, but it didn't matter, because Santa wasn't a real person anyway. To this I really found the author an ignorant oaf. If you are going to write an article, at least research the story. If you are going to follow a tradition, understand why you are doing it, especially if it's not your religion. And that is what annoys the hell out of me with many bloggers and Internet article authors. That’s like me saying Chanukka has nothing to do with the symbolism of an oil lamp burning for eight days, but only to have a pretty candelabra on my mantle for eight nights. Or lighting Divali deeyas not for their Religious significance, but because the look pretty all lined up.
Santa Clause has a religious heritage. Santa Claus, based on Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra. He was the son of very wealthy parents, and when his parents died in an epidemic, he inherited all of their money and used it to help the needy.
One story has it that a father of three daughters, a very poor man came to Nicholas to tell of his plight. Because he was poor, he did not have the money needed for a dowery in order to marry off his daughters, and so because they would not be married, they would have to be sold off into slavery.
It was the custom in that time to hang your stockings from the fireplace over night to dry, and supposedly that night, Nicholas threw three bags of gold from the window into the hung stockings so that the girls would each have a dowery and thus not be sold into slavery. He is also the patron saint of children.
It would be so nice if anyone is going to write an article about any one else’s religion, and they really don’t know anything about it, to just first research to understand what it Is you are talking about. That is the problem with the world in general. People argue and fight over things they have no idea about and only what they hear from other people. There is a reason hear say is not admissible in court. Be a voice, not an echo.