The outdoor Christmas lights came down last weekend. We kept the lights up past the holidays because our winters are so long here in upstate New York.
I found other forms of light to enjoy: The brightness of justice as commemorated on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The sparkle of ice on the ground. The enlightened sermon given at the local Catholic church about how we can be ordinary with God and feel extraordinary. And, our neighbor’s cheerfulness as she invited us to dinner tonight.
Quoting from science & religion to God, “Through inspiration and understanding, God reveals the spiritual knowledge that unlocks the resources of truth. Spirituality allows us to read the human situation correctly, with healing intent and power. The light of spiritual truth exposes and displaces erroneous human thoughts, and demonstrates healing.”
Santa Claus is a jolly reminder that many of the traditions engaged in during Christmas time were borrowed, maybe never to be returned. The traditions of gift-giving, tree decorating, feasting, and honoring gods, can be traced back to ancient Scandinavia, Germany, and Rome celebrating the winter solstice or New Year.
Movie, Christmas Unwrapped: A History of Christmas documented how, for more years than not, Christmas was a rowdy event. Drinking, indulgence, and carousing went on for days. It was centuries after Christ Jesus’ birth before churches stepped up as participants in the holiday.
Christmas as we see it today was fine-tuned in the 19th century when children were recognized as important during the festivities. The “family” approach tempered the holiday. Christmas carols, stories, and cards also became popular in the 19th century along with the nativity of Christ Jesus as a focal point.
It’s fair to put in a plug for Saint Nicholas―though exorbitantly marketed today―because the spirit of giving has truly been lived by individuals for centuries in many cultures. For example, in the 4th century A.D. Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna lived in what is known today as Turkey. Bishop Nicholas was a wealthy and generous man who loved and gave gifts to children. He was later given the title of Saint Nicholas.
Keeping Christmas in perspective, I hope you all have a blessed day and every day after.