Christmas then and now 2018-99
The word Christmas has two words in it. One “Christ” comes derived from the Greek word “Khristos” for Messiah. Therefore, Jesus Christ is Jesus the Messiah. The other part “mas” is from an old English word, the word Mass, a rite or ritual of a church service. This comes from the Latin word “Missa”, meaning dismissal, which the Priest would say at the end of a Mass “Ite Missa Est” or “Go, it is the dismissal”. Other sources show the Old English “Cristes Maesse” meaning Christ’s Mass perhaps as early as 1038 A.D, or as Cristes-messe in 1131. Early churches retained Jan 6 as the date to celebrate this holiday. The fact remains that nobody knows the actual date of the birth of Jesus and early leaders speculated and argued about the date. Does it matter? If an adopted person does not know the actual date of their birth and one is picked, that is the date of celebration for the birth.
The word and celebration of Christmas was first used as a word more than 600 years ago during the Middle Ages. Christmas began as a way to further Christianity and slowly it turned into a holiday of celebration, somewhat like the Pagans’ did to have a celebration and festive times with gifts, food and drinks. They did so, to celebrate with dancing and gift giving to commemorate the survival of harsh winters.
As far as the date goes, it is recorded as being chosen as far back as 171-183 when Theophilus of Antioch first identified Dec 25 as the birth date of Christ. It was called the Feast of the Nativity then, not Christmas.
Today, we or many, have other reasons besides the survival of winter, to celebrate Christmas. With the decline of people having a religious following of any nature, it is just a good thing, and even a great thing for many. It is good for the economy and many businesses are saved by it and sales that produce income. Bottom lines are made and enriched from the purchases made from October through December.
Churches get an uptick of attendance around Christmas if not the day itself, and a yearly budget in the positive numbers are achieved from December influxes of giving. Relationships of people are enhanced at this time and rings are sold and jewelry stores see an increase of sales. It is a season of giving and getting and it does not matter what or why we celebrate this holiday, we enjoy the festive nature it brings us all.
As the old English word “mas” meant dismissal, many look at Christmas for the celebration and gift giving, but not the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah, the Christ. Jesus or the Messiah has been dismissed, forgotten or worse, not thought of at all. So be it….
Jesus is the reason for the season but forgotten by the masses; dismissed as the figurehead of why we have this celebration at this time of year. I remember, as a youth and child, that Christmas was something that meant gifts and ham dinner, for I was then a heathen, in my acts, thoughts and deeds in relation to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
God than came into my life to a degree after I got married, but more so, about 8 years ago in March of 2010. Since then I have gotten closer to Him and my relationship with Him, the One God of the Universe. I have since then, submitted myself to God, surrendered myself to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as being with me with His Presence; always.
Christmas is NOT a dismissal of the Messiah to me, but a festival of the birth of the Man God, Jesus who became the savior of all mankind.
I feel whole, complete and as one with God, our Creator. Jesus is my teacher, Instructor, counselor and the one I give thanks to for my life as it is today. I consider myself a disciple of Jesus Christ, though not a good one, but one that is always striving to get closer and better in my ways.
I look at Christmas as the date we use to celebrate his birth. Yes, I enjoy the festive times, the gifts, the get-togethers, the music, the movies about Christmas, and all the other trappings of the holidays. But, to me they are fluff. They mean nothing to me in the overall reason of my delights. The promise of eternal life beyond this life on Earth, is exciting to me.
Jesus was the Word that become Flesh, the Savior of the World—his is the most significant birth ever. It is the central event in all of history. Time chronicles backward and forward from this moment. How can we fail to remember this day with great joy and reverence? How can we not celebrate Christmas?
I welcome you to celebrate Christmas with Jesus Christ in your heart and mind.
Peace be with you,