I always loved Christmas, to be more accurate, I adored Christmas. I couldn’t wait for the Christmas holidays to come, for the lovely festive atmosphere to outweigh everything else, bringing only joyful and warm sentiments, loving feelings and reunions with my beloved friends and family. Christmas was, no doubt, my favourite period of the year. It was the reason why winter always mattered. When the summer ended, the thought of the coming Christmas kept me going through the autumn blues. While I definitely believe that every season has its magical moments, it would be a lie if I didn’t admit that September and October were always the pre-Christmas months, a sort of ‘warming-up’ for the peak of the season- what else? Christmas.
This year I found myself hesitant at wishing everyone ‘Merry Christmas’, especially after hearing various opinions stating that, since many people are not Christian or are not religious, it would be offensive or ignorant to wish them ‘Merry Christmas’. I even had people saying that it is not politically correct to pronounce the word ‘Christmas’ in front of people coming from different religions or defending different religious beliefs.
I was quite confused and puzzled to that argument, but it kept going a lot in my head and I decided that I should not be afraid of or ashamed at wishing to the people around me ‘Merry Christmas’. The next list is an effort to prove why Christmas could be a universal celebration, even for non-religious people and why it can potentially have only positive and healing affects to the human soul.
1. Christmas, whether you believe or not in the Christian God, is all about love. It is an occasion to spread love, share love, give unconditional love and receive love. And as far as I know, love exists everywhere and touches everyone.
2. During Christmas period, people usually are eager or are socially ‘forced’ to spend some family time, for most people meaning that they reunite with their family, even travel miles away to see their relatives and dine around the same table. Well, how true is that busy lives and daily routine make it harder and harder for people to stay in contact with their families and have a true connection with them? Could Christmas then be an opportunity for people, regardless of religious orientation, to meet with their close relatives, and spend some quiet, peaceful time with them? Wouldn’t that be a kind of healing for their stressful lives? It would surely be.
3. Christmas is a celebration of life. It symbolizes Jesus’s Birth, but even if one doesn’t believe in Jesus, who can argue with the power of the very concept of Birth, which is the creation of life, the fountain, the starting point? Let us celebrate the joy of life, despite our religious or political differences.
4. Christmas is an opportunity for us to rethink our actions, reflect on our misbehaviour and mistakes and apologize to the people we hurt. Christmas encompasses the meaning of ‘forgiveness’ – so why don’t we try not to judge people so much but try to accept, and forgive instead? Forgiveness relieves the soul.
5. Christmas is a chance to offer gifts to as many people as possible. Even though there is a materialistic and maybe superficial dimension to gift exchanging, it is still a way to spend time thinking about the other, instead of focusing on ourselves. Especially kids become extremely happy when they receive gifts. I think that everyone is happy when they receive gifts. And they don’t have to be expensive- even the smallest gift is a symbolic action of offering. Offering and receiving gifts makes people smile. We all know that smile is a sign of health and happiness all around the globe.
6. Christmas is the period when we usually think about justice and injustice. It is the period when we tend to think about those people who are lonely, deprived, poor or disadvantaged. It is the period when organisations, individuals, charities, people of authority unite to offer shelter, food and help to those in need. Maybe not everyone cares about helping others, but for those who do, it is a rewarding feeling and a generous act. Christmas period should not be the only period when the priority is the people in need, but nevertheless it doesn’t cease to be the peak of humanity and solidarity. Again, these values exceed religious borders.
7. Christmas is the chance for people to act generously and focus on good deeds. On Christmas and New Year’s Day, people do not want to be involved in fights, arguments and anger. It is the celebration of good feelings, of saying a good word, pronouncing wishes or give a hug. What is more healing for the peace of soul than that?
8. Lights everywhere. In the streets, in the houses, in the public spaces, everywhere. It is psychologically proven that lights help people get out of depression and various health problems. Lights are a crucial part of Christmas celebrations. Literally and symbolically, lights are primordially connected with joy, positivity, happiness, purity and truth. In fact, they can brighten up someone’s day, especially children’s world.
9. In Christmas, people go out, meet with their friends, go to parties. Even the fanatic workaholics throw work Christmas parties and finally find a chance to chat with their colleagues, to whom they rarely say ‘hi’ on a typical working day. Work Christmas parties are an institution, they might be silly, shallow, might include fake socialising, but they still are an effort of getting together, something quite rare in everyday, typical work routine.
10. During the Christmas period, there is a special atmosphere to it, marked by music, choirs, carol singing, colours, voices, that distinguishes it from every other period of the year. Surely, to many this atmosphere is not appealing, but if you think about it, all those lively manifestations can be a vibrant sign of life.
So, for the above reasons I firmly believe that Christmas can be an extremely important and blessing period for all of us. I felt an urge to defend Christmas, a very special period of the year, a very special part of me, a celebration that has shaped my life, my experiences, my emotions and who I am today. Thanks to Christmas I sometimes see the world with a different view. Although the reality of life can very often be cruel, disappointing, discouraging and frustrating and the evil dominating in the world succeeds in letting me down and making me wonder where the good is hidden, I never stop hoping for Christmas. And I know that no matter what, I will always want to wake up on a Christmas Day and believe, even for some moments, in the beauty and true meaning of life. Yes, thanks to Christmas.