I wish it could be Christmas every day. So sang Wizzard in 1973 and it has been a Christmas favourite of mine, ever since! Why? Because I love the tune, the rhythm, but I particularly like the concept, that for me it is Christmas every day!
The reason for the season one might explain is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
There have been outcries that in certain places we have to drop the Christ from Christmas for fear of offence to non-believers or to other faiths.
There are British cities where it is now politically correct to refer to winter lights rather than Christmas lights and I was rather disappointed that the robin Christmas cards I had bought had “Winter Greetings” inside in place of “Christmas Greetings” but I can live with that! The Christians pinched a festival already in existence; Saturnalia, and made it into their Christmas so who are we to complain if others want to pinch it too!
Due to Saturnalia we inherited many pagan customs to which we gave Christian meanings. For example during Saturnalia children were given gifts of wax dolls to represent the human sacrifices that Rome had given to Saturn, the god of agriculture. We now think gift giving started with the three wise men or the fact the Christ child was our gift. We convince ourselves that mistletoe is a symbol of Christian love when we sneak kisses.
However pre-Christian cultures believed it had powers of fertility and that is why they decorated their homes with it. They believed that as evergreens never lost their leaves they had magical powers and they brought them into their homes in order to please the gods. Christians have suggested many religious meanings for the Christmas tree. An obvious parallel is that, as an evergreen, it reminds us of the gift of everlasting life with God.
Santa Claus is the English form of the Dutch name for St Nicholas who was a very godly person, remembered for his generosity and charity works. Left an orphan with a large inheritance he spent his life helping the poor in order to honour God. He was made into an archbishop but during a persecution of Christians was probably tortured for his faith.
After his death on December 6 people began to exchange gifts in his memory. Some countries decided to merge the date with Christmas but some thought doing so made St Nicholas draw too much attention away from the Christ child.
Let’s face it; Jesus Christ could have been born on July 25th for all we know. Christians wanted a day to celebrate the birth of Christ so we opted for 25 December. For me personally though every day of my life has been given meaning because of the Christian message summed up in John 3.16:
“God loved the world so much that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Those are the words that have given hope and purpose to me for 365 days each year and so it truly is Christmas for me every day of the year!