Happy, slightly belated, Hanukkah
There are those who want to claim a war on “Christ” and/in Christmas, sorry, but that is just silliness.
Christmas and History
First off, Jesus was most likely born closer to when we celebrate Easter, in the spring. Does this detract from the intent of the holiday, not to me.
Before the church modified the, even then, ancient holiday a celebration of birth and renewal existed. To the ancients who had been watching the Sun and the heavens, the disappearance of the warmth giving Sun must have been potentially terrifying.
One of the things that happens at this time of year is the Winter Solstice, the Sun’s apparent reaching it’s furthest southern position on the horizon. Without the knowledge we have now, what was to keep the Sun from going? At the time of the Solstice, the Sun appears in pretty much the same place for three-days and then starts its slow ascent into the heaves as Spring gets closer.
If you are from any number of Shaman or Earth traditions you have the, usually, masculine form of God entering into the Underworld and beginning the process of rejuvenation for rebirth into the world in Spring.
I have never really thought about it before, but I have wondered if there is a similar collection of traditions on the Southern Hemisphere around the Summer Solstice when the Sun would be doing the same at it’s northernmost appearance.
Intent of Christmas
The one thing about all the holidays, with the possible exception of Kwanzaa, is the rebirth of life. If you are Christian than Christmas is the day you celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is the predominant point of this holiday, the beginning of creation, the return of life, the rejuvenation of Spirit. As the Sun grows higher in the sky, the ability for life to return to the world.
In the Christian popular tradition we give presents which likely comes from the Roman Saturnalia celebrations, but the idea of giving from oneself to another, I have never thought of that to be a bad thing.
My Christmas Wish
So I wish to you and yours a Christmas befitting of the Christ-Child, or a rebirthed deity in whatever form, may the Season be joyous and may the New Year be everything and more you could wish for.