Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do You Remember the True Meaning of Christmas?

Are older generations more religious than us? I think so. I have been completing oral histories with some of my older relatives.
My mother and my older relatives were very religious. My mother was very close to her siblings and her children.
My mother taught us to go to church every Sunday and to celebrate Mass on Holy Days. She taught us to dress up on Sunday, go to church, honor God, honor the day and spend time with family. Later, she encouraged us to become active at church, join the choir, teach Catechism and to feel love for our fellow man. She taught us so many songs, both for church and for Holy Days. She taught us to sing from our heart and to show love for our fellow man!
My mom always volunteered at the church. She used to cook for the priests and wash/iron their garments. She often used a stiff starch spray when she ironed to make sure the vestments were immaculate and very, very crisp.
Holidays were always special times. She taught us, as her mother taught her, the Posadas. During the Christmas Holidays, everyone helped to festively decorate the church. Las Posadas were a special time in our church. We reenacted Joseph´s journey with Mary to Bethlehem. Las Posadas started on December 16 and continued through Christmas Eve. Our families went to church every evening during this time for the reenactment. We went from house to house and sang songs. It was a beautiful time of togetherness. It also helped all of us understand the true meaning of Christmas. Mary and Joseph arrived at the inn and we were all welcomed in for the birth of Christ. When I think of those times, I think of the birth of Christ, the singing and the feeling that we were all joined together in this Celebration of the True Meaning of Christmas!
I remember a Christmas song my mother taught us as children and it still resounds in my memories today:
"Ya rompió el alba del día, nació el niño manuelito, cantemos con alegría, a la lu, Niño chiquito. A la lu, Niño chiquito. Cantemos con alegria, Cantemos con grande fe, alaven los dulces nombres de Jesus, Maria y Jose. De Jesus, Maria y Jose."
So sometimes, I think about all of us. Do you have a manger scene as part of your Christmas celebration? Do you honor the Baby Jesus on his Birthday Celebration? Christmas was never meant to be about commercialism or expensive gifts. It was always about honoring Christ´s birth, families and being together.
I miss those times and sometimes, I wonder, if our children and grandbabies remember the true meaning of Christmas.

21 comments:

The Arizonian said...

Well, depends on what you mean by 'the true meaning of Christmas'.

The history?

Maybe this is a discussion I shouldn't engage in......

Dee said...

AZ,
Maybe this will help you:

The Birth of Jesus:
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Due to the census, the inn was too crowded.

Mary gave birth in a stable. She wrapped the baby in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger.

Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby, in the stable.

Three wise men followed the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. They bowed and worshipped him, offering treasures of gold, incense and myrrh.

And this day, Christmas, we Christians celebrate every year, honoring the birth of Jesus the Christ Child. We do this by welcoming family together for this birthday celebration.

theczech said...

As a non-christian, I think the meaning of Christmas will be different for me and my fellow non-christians.

Anonymous said...

As a Christian, your post was very meaningful to me.

Merry Christmas, Dee.

Dee said...

My point in this post is I do not agree with the commercialization of Christmas. If you believe in Christmas, then remember why.

If you do not, and just want to celebrate commercialism and gift giving, then call it something else and celebrate as you wish, but just don´t call it Christmas. Call it (as Seinfeld suggested) Festivus or Santa Claus day.

When I think back to my childhood, those were the best Christmases of all and there wasn´t anything commercial about them.

Dee said...

Anon,
Merry Christmas to you too!

Anonymous said...
As a Christian, your post was very meaningful to me.

Merry Christmas, Dee.

The Arizonian said...

Christmas is much older than Christianity.

December 21st is the winter solstice. The Sun seems to stop it's decent southward. On December 25th, the Sun starts to noticeably move northward again.
Pagans of the time referred to this as "The birth (or rebirth) of the Sun".

You can thank Constantin for the infusion of Judea-christian beliefs with Pagan beliefs.

I don't really have the time and patience to explain further.
http://thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/before_christ.htm

Then on this page:
http://thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/jesus_birth.htm
"In the western world the birthday of Jesus Christ has been celebrated on December 25th since AD 354, partly to replace the pagan worship that was commonplace in those days. However, we can be fairly sure that Jesus wasn't actually born on that date."

Dee said...

AZ,
You can be a PAGAN if you want! No one has a problem with that.
All I say is STOP calling your celebration Christmas! Christmas is meant to recognize the Birth of Christ!!

IF you want to recognize the pagan Winter Soltice or Santa Day then DO SO!!! Just stop calling it Christmas UNLESS you mean to honor the birth of Christ!!

Anonymous said...

No one has the right to insist that someone stop saying this or that unless it is against the law. I am a Christian but I also adhere to Freedom of Speech in this country. If something said is offensive to you then don't listen to it and just walk away.

Dee said...

Oh Anon,
Lighten up!
I am just sharing my OPINION.
No one has to abide by it.
I am just saying that Christmas is Christ´s Birthday and it has been so commercialized that many people do not even acknowledge Jesus´birthday and instead only think about gifts and presents.
I think if you don´t acknowledge this, then why bother to call the day Christmas? What is the point?

For me, I will always call this Blessed Day Christmas and hope all Christian´s honor Jesus´birthday.

Anonymous said...

No, that isn't what you said to Arizonian. Go back and read your remarks to him telling him to STOP calling his celebration, Christmas. You said nothing to him in that post about commercialism. You see I pay attention to everything that people say. No one can pull any wool over me eyes or be deceitful by denying or twisting their own words.

Liquidmicro said...

Jesus wasn't born in Dec. The church took and used it to further the church. Look to what AZ points to.

Your accepting of the birth of Christ on this day is nothing but 'Christian' fallacy. Its one of the churches many attempts at furthering its own message for its own prosperity.

Where do you think the yule log comes from?? The giving a presents to the children?? Two different cultures, now combined into our American Christmas. The 'true' meaning of Christmas is the knowing of its history and accepting all of the different cultures that it draws in and over the length of time that it has been going on to become an acceptance to us all in this diverse country.

The Arizonian said...

Dee,

I am no 'Pagan',
Nor am I 'Christian',
I was SDA....

I'm more of a recovering theist or agnostic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic- I believe in something greater than ourselves, but I believe organized religion has it all wrong.

As far as Christmas....

It's printed on the calendar, and a Federal holiday.
So, I will refer to the 25th of December as Christmas. I have that right as an American if I so desire.

But I usually say "Merry chrisma-hanna-qwanzika" just to catch people off guard.

Dee said...

AZ,
The beauty about America is we do have Freedom of Choice and Freedom of Religion.
You are free to be agnostic and celebrate whatever you call your paid day off on 12-25.
As for me, I am Catholic and I believe in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. That is my choice.

Dee said...

Liquid,
I do not agree with your OPINION on this Liquid. However, you are free to believe whatever you want to believe, as am I.
It is a Free Country!


Liquidmicro said...
Jesus wasn't born in Dec. The church took and used it to further the church. Look to what AZ points to.

Your accepting of the birth of Christ on this day is nothing but 'Christian' fallacy. Its one of the churches many attempts at furthering its own message for its own prosperity.

Liquidmicro said...

My opinion?? Sorry, its a known fact that Christ was not born on Dec. 25, but rather September 11, 3 BC. Its the Catholic Church that has chosen Dec. 25 based on other cultures celebrations and heritages of the Winter Solstice to promote its own ideology along with the screw up of Dionysius and his missing the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years, so the Catholic Church has since ran with it rather than fix the mistake.


Nobody is putting down your belief, or your meaning of Christmas, for each of us it means something different. However, you need to do some research into the teachings and understandings of why the Catholic Church teaches what it does, as they are not the all encompassing beacon of knowledge.

Analisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Analisa said...

I suspect they're playing with you, Dee. Either that or I have wax in my ears. Did I actually hear Liquid extol the virtue of diversity and "accepting all of the different cultures"?? Ah no, I'm dreaming...yeah, that must be it. he,he.

Liquid said:
"The 'true' meaning of Christmas is the knowing of its history and accepting all of the different cultures that it draws in and over the length of time that it has been going on to become an acceptance to us all in this diverse country."

Analisa said...

Dee,

I must admit that I have come to embrace a more encompassing vision of God and spirituality than what I was raised to believe in. So, I guess I have drifted from the Catholic teachings of my childhood. I still believe, but these days, I am as likely to find His presence in the beauty of nature or the face of a newborn baby. Yet, many of the Christian teachings still hold true for me. Among them:

"The stone the builder rejected is become the cornerstone... The last shall be first… He that would gain his life must first lose it… The meek shall inherit the earth…"

Yes, I am thinking of all the undocumented immigrants in this country. The tradition of Las Posadas in Latin America reenacts the trials of Joseph and Mary, as they were turned away from one place of refuge after another. before they found some kind soul who was willing to take them in. I think we could all learn something from this story.

You are right, Dee...
There is so much more to Christmas than all the commercialism that besieges us. Thank you for reminding us.

Merry Christmas, Dee! :~)

Analisa

Liquidmicro said...

"Did I actually hear Liquid extol the virtue of diversity and "accepting all of the different cultures"??"

You are taking what I said out of its context. Do you know what cultural heritages that we celebrate for Christmas, the question of the Yule Log and the giving of presents to children?? Americans Christmas is an amalgamation of all the different western societies heritages, thus our diversity.

Dee said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Analisa,

Sorry I did not see your message earlier.
It is so nice to hear from you again. I miss you.

A couple of negative ANTIs have been attempting to hijack my blog and it is such a chore to deal with them. I guess this is my cross to bear for having an open unmoderated blog.

Take Care Sweety and Let us ALL continue the charge to communicate our positive message, end Hate Crimes/Racial Profiling, close the Detention Centers and promote Peace in our times.

xxx ooo
Dee

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