A controversy that presents itself to many Christians in our present time is the transformation of the meaning of Christmas and how it has changed in the Western world. What was once seen as a celebration of the birth of Christ has turned into an industry filled with marketing, where the meaning has been forgotten. Buying the perfect gift and having the best-decorated house on the block seems to have become the main focus of this time of the year.
When you think about it, if Jesus had not of been born there wouldn’t be a Christmas to begin with. There would be no presents, no decorated houses and no good ole Saint Nick. To me, the true meaning behind Christmas is not all of those materialistic aspects, but the fundamental value of one word — love.
The celebration of this one word is the true meaning behind this miraculous day. So what does this word mean? When looking at the word “Christmas” it is translated into “Mass of Christ” — in other words, the celebration of the birth of Christ. This day is to celebrate the birth of Christ, to remember and commemorate His name.
Don’t get me wrong, the act of sharing gifts, waking up and spending time with your family and friends are all great things, and Christmas can be a day filled with joy, cheer and happiness. However, it is not fair for Christians to have to conform themselves and take “Christ” out of Christmas.
Although we are a multicultural country with many religious and ethnical backgrounds, we are also a country that believes in the equality of one’s religious belief. Saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” comes as a great offence to many Christians. Christmas has been around for many hundreds of years. Changing its title to abide by the cultural norm is changing its meaning on a larger level. The way that we accept other religions and what they believe in should be the same for Christianity.
It seems to me that younger generations are beginning to lose the true meaning of Christmas; the first thought that pops into a child’s head when hearing the word “Christmas” is not the day that Christ is born, but the day that they will receive the gift they’ve always wanted. As the years pass, the meaning of Christmas could continue to fade, and the message of the marketing industries will further embody emphasis of this holiday.
As a Christian, I personally do not want to feel constrained, embarrassed or told that what I’m saying is “politically incorrect” when saying “Merry Christmas” to my peers, the store clerk down the street or your everyday Joe. Saying “Merry Christmas” to someone who is not Christian may not mean as much as saying Happy Holidays to someone who is Christian. It is both an offence to them along with whom they believe in.
Veronica Alexanders hopes we remember the true meaning of Christmas.
illustration by vanessa marginet