Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

In keeping with the grand tradition of having a guest writer do the annual Christmas Day post on this blog, here's this year's article by Lara D'Souza.

The Secularity of *Christ*mas

Aside from Easter, Christmas is the most sacred, miraculous and joyous day in the Catholic religion. What do people, as celebrators of Christmas mean when they say “Merry Christmas”? Some could say that these words have been used so much, that they’ve completely lost their meaning. The question is not quite, what Christmas means to individuals personally, but what Christmas truly means. From before anyone can remember, Christmas has been an annual tradition. It has become a worldwide holiday and said to be the most wonderful time of the year. But what exactly is it that makes Christmas so unique and special from the rest of the year? When exchanging presents, are people exchanging Christmas’ true meaning?

Moreover, the world is utterly and disgustingly obsessed with the media. Everyone has let it come to a point where the media has overpowered our way of thinking. So much so, that it has created its own tradition out of Christmas. Obviously traditions may differ within cultures, but there is always some truth to be uncovered. One tradition for instance, would be competition and self-centeredness. There is tremendous pride that comes with claiming to have the best tree or lawn on the block. The excitement of pondering on what gifts people want their friends and loved-ones to buy for them. ‘Wish Lists’ aren’t even about what people need as opposed to what they want. Another tradition - the crude universal money making scheme. Our country’s economy relies heavily on this holiday’s gift-giving fanatics. ‘The National Retail Federation is forecasting that consumers will spend $17.24 billion on gifts cards this holiday season.’ If people spend that much money on cards alone, it’s almost hard to imagine how much money goes into decorations, parties and presents. ‘Coke’ had to make their trademarked colours red and white so that they could use ‘Santa Claus’ as an ad campaign. It’s pretty pathetic how a stout man in a suit can make people buy almost anything.

Furthermore people have such one-dimensional perspectives, for when they see or hear Santa, they right away think of presents. No one bothers to portray what he really represents and tie that in with Christmas. St. Nicholas never told people that he went around giving presents to 6 billion people in one night. That wasn’t one of his miracles and that wasn’t the reason he was a saint.

“I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies, that rule the major part of our lives.”
[Kris Kringle, in the movie Miracle On 34th Street].
Maybe the uncovered tradition in Kris Kringle would have something to do with the fact that he put someone other than himself, first. If we really used St. Nicholas as an excuse and the root of our tradition, we’d learn to give without wanting absolutely anything in return. In addition, of course there is magic when a child awakes to gifts from a mysterious, jolly man. Although, there has to be a limit to everything, including how secular people make their Christmases.

Consequently, they have made their minds completely one-tracked. People are either so ignorant that they cannot read between the lines, (the self-righteous traditions they follow), or, are so selfish that they just don’t bother to. It’s just so much easier for people to be happy over materialistic presents, than to search deep into their souls to find any real meaning derived from the day that is Christmas. The fact is that Christmas should be first and foremost completely what it is meant to be. That is a holy celebration of Jesus’ birth into this world. The Catholic Church has decided to crown December 25th as the annual salutation of Christ into the world, and everyone has the responsibility to respect that. Out of 365 days of the year, people have decided to crown December 25th as the annual holiday to exchange material objects.

On the other hand, people might challenge that exchanging presents doesn’t necessarily mean that they are exchanging Christmas’ true meaning. The question remains outstretched and the answer is simple. They most certainly are. Christmas is no longer as important as it should be, in means of religion. People might as well wish each other a “Happy Santamas”. What does it say about people, when the only reason Christmas is the merriest season, is because of the material things a person receives? There is no plausible reason that we cannot come up with any other day of the year and name it national gift-giving day. Each year, people try to make their decorations and presents more outstanding than the year before. Each year, we become more and more overwhelmed with the excitement, anticipation of Christmas morn. Each year we develop greater levels of greed for glorious, glittering gifts. In conclusion, sooner or later, people are going to drain every last bit of importance associated with Jesus’ birth.

Lara D’Souza

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