Who is the real reason for Christmas?
It's Christmas once again. Although this is the second year that we are celebrating Christmas under the threat of the Covid-19 virus, there are still reasons to celebrate Christmas.
Hello, dearest readers and friends. I've always thought of this question almost every Christmas. Because, year after year, The focus of Christmas is gearing towards the big fat jolly fellow in the red suit. Sta. Claus.
Surely, gift-giving has been a long-standing tradition of Christmas. And Sta Claus is the most notable icon for gift giving during this season. But, who is Sta, Claus
Let's take a look briefly at the history of the real Sta. Claus-- Saint. Nicholas of Myra.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was an early Christian Bishop. According to tradition, he was born in March 15, 270 A.D., and died on December 6, 343 A.D. Thus the feast day of St. Nicholas is December 6. Saint Nicholas is known as the patron saint of children, sailors, and others.
It's been said that Saint Nicholas saved three girls from being forced to prostitution. He did that by secretly dropping three bags of gold through the window of the girls' house so their father can pay for their dowry.
The Santa Claus we know today was based on Saint Nicholas of the 3rd and 4th centuries. Throughout the centuries though, the stories and legend of St. Nicholas evolved. And the popular image of Santa Claus today evolved from the Dutch Tradition.
The jolly man riding the magical flying sleigh full of toys was first depicted in the 1823 poem "The Night Before Christmas". But it wasn't until the 1870's that the cartoonist Thomas Nast gave him the red suit and cap.
Thus the tradition of hanging socks by the fireplace, and telling children that Santa Claus will give gifts to children throughout the whole world on the night before Christmas is still kept to this date.
Image Source: Pixabay
However, is Santa Claus the real reason for Christmas?
December 25th* is the designated birthdate of Jesus Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is the Messiah. The savior of mankind. A birth that was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible generation before it happened.
Isaiah 7:14 says:
“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”
In Christianity, we believe that Jesus is the savior of mankind. Mankind fell into sins. Became slaves to sin. And His birth is the beginning of his mission to save us from our sins. To free us from our sins. A mission that was concluded by offering his life on the cross.
God became a man and offered himself as a living sacrifice. A feat that no man could ever do.
Even on that fateful evening, the birth of Jesus was already celebrated. Just as the three wise men from the east followed the star that brought them to the manger where Jesus was born.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
His birth was the greatest gift mankind has ever received. For those who, and who will believe, will receive the grace of His salvation.
That is why celebrating Christmas is a significant event in Christianity.
When I was young, I remember that we would always decorate our house with Christmas ornaments every December. Plastic Christmas Trees were not popular or even available at the time. So, Dad would cut a big branch from our guava tree, wrap it in green or white crepe paper and add some glittering ornaments and Christmas lights.
And the most important part of the decoration is the Nativity Scene or the Belen.
Image Source: Unsplash
The Belen is always the centerpiece of the Christmas decoration. It reminds us that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Even outside the big stores or in other public places, the Nativity Scene is visible. Some are even life-size.
The TV (before there was Cable TV) would air movies about the birth of Jesus. Of course, there were movies about Santa and Rodolf as well.
From the decorations alone in the past few days, you will see a lot more glittering lights, Christmas trees, snowmen (even there is no snow in the Philippines), and the most prominent figure is Santa Claus.
The Nativity scene is rarely visible these days. You can find them mostly inside Churches, religious schools, and very few commercial establishments.
The Nativity Scene was displayed in our school in 2019.
Christmas songs, (if you can call them that), are more focused on relationships, sometimes broken relationships. Some are just mentioning the word Christmas and call it a Christmas song.
Even the movies are more focused on Santa Claus, a kid left alone in the house on Christmas eve, and the Grinch.
The highlight of the Christmas Parties is always the exchanging of gifts. I believe a mentality is instilled, not for the sake of giving out of love anymore, but by commercialism.
Let's be reminded of two things.
Santa Claus has his roots in a real-life Catholic bishop. But he is not the focus of Christmas. The feast day of Santa Claus is December 6, not December 25.
December 25 is the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. The beginning of his mission. Why, because he loves us and because he is Love! Let's not forget that. After all, He is the real reason for this Season.
*- There was no record of the actual date of the birth of Jesus. In fact, the early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus probably in the 2nd century.
Read: Why Is Christmas in December.