CHRISTMAS AND HAPPINESS OF THE CELEBRANTS
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further disseminated the information.
Related to Christmastide, Christmas Eve, Advent, Annunciation, Epiphany, Baptism of the Lord, Nativity Fast, Nativity of Christ, Yule, St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day
A Capsule on Xmas
The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.
( encultured into Christianity as charismas)
In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun.
Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year.
In the olden day, the birth of Jesus was not recognized as a holiday. Easter was the only holiday that was recognized by Christianity. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth; although there are evidences.
Pope Julius I chose December 25. The church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.
By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders was able to decide and dictate how it was celebrated., Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion by the Middle Ages. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the “lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
Does Xmas really bring us happiness?
‘Happy Xmas’ is the popular and common wish that we wish our friends and relatives during this season of Xmas. The question is, does Xmas make us happy or it brings us happiness? Because for me, there is a different between ‘make’ and ‘bring’. For some people out there, happy Christmas could mean having 10 crates of red horse and mp lights, for some it could means going to the mall to eat rice and drink coke float, while some other it could mean buying flashy cars and clothes.
Now Christmas is coming. The D day is just around the corner. Windows and doors are elegantly decorated. The Christmas tree, with the glowing star on the top, is decorated with many coloured bright lights which flash on and off, grabs the attention of the passers-by, especially of the small children. Shopping malls are beautifully decorated and lovely Christmas melodies everywhere. People moves in and out department store buying gifts and presents. Children are rejoicing and jubilating seeing their parents buying decorated shoes and clothes for charismas. Everybody is fighting and hustling to meet up with their travels and tours just to see and celebrate with love ones. Let us not forget the delicious and specious meals and meats the we will consume on the D-day.
Yes, psychologist maintains that all these makes us happy, the gifts we receives, the activities like charismas parties, football and basketball tournaments, the elegant decorations around and within us. All these make us happy, especially the children.
Christmas and Happiness (hedonistic)
Right from the ancient time to our contemporary time, Christmas has been celebrated hedonistically. During the ancient saturnalia celebration, hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun. It was encultured to Christianity to be celebrated as charismas, the birthday of Jesus Christ, and the church leader ordered that it should be celebrated that same was.
On Christmas, believers attended church, and then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the “lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens. All these merriments and momentary and might not bring happiness rather, makes happy.
Christmas and happiness (eudemonistic)
Eudaemonism is derived from the Greek word ‘eudaimon’ – having a good attendant spirit, happy, from eu + daimon spirit. It is a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well-being.
I am a eudaemonist who believes that Christmas should be more of ethical attendant of happiness. It should aim more at bringing happiness and not making happiness. Christmas should bring real happiness in our lives, and not momentary pleasure.
CHRISTMAS- a happy time for the poor, marginalized and the needy
Santa R-Kayma Klaws (Santa Claus)is a Filipino citizen in his 70s and he is of Irish descent. This man has been spreading Christmas cheer among the poor Filipino children by dressing up as Santa Claus during charity missions and corporate events in poor areas of Philippines for over 50 years. He has an air-conditioned bus that is used in many missions allover Philippines. The only reindeer farm Ocampo samarine Sur is own by Him, his farm is open to the public for free especially during Christmas. http://pacificsantas.com
Remember in the olden days, during Christmas, the slave will become the master; Peasants were in command of the city. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink.
But “I love Christmas, and I hate you the celebrants”
I hate you celebrants of this great feast for haven derailed from the main vision and objectives of Christmas celebration. I hate you celebrants because we have allowed High desire and expectations to adulterate and hijacked the original meaning and aim of Christmas and turn it to be an atrocious feast.
Some desire and extreme expectations have disfigured Christmas and truncate the happy impact in our life and the society at large:-
- I must make it in this Christmas
- - If Steve drop range rover sport, why can’t i?
- - You see this Christmas; my husband must buy a car and expensive wear for me.
- - Before the end of Christmas, all I lose I must gain.
- - The house that I did not finish since 5 years ago must be concluded this xmas.
These and others are things that rubs us the happiness we tend to achieve during the period.
Remember it's not about how much you spend but about the thought that went into that gift. The thought that went into our eating and drinking. With that, I urge and encourage all you to prepare for the lovely holidays with a few last ideas for Christmas gifts.
"To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."
~ Oren Arnold ~
Happy Christmas to all!
By Stephen W. Boniface