Friday, January 25, 2008


The Ironies of Christmas

The holiday season is gone but most probably people are still recovering from a lot of expenses or even debts due to gift-giving, to hospitalization caused by firecracker accidents or, worst, of deaths caused by stray bullets from guns fired by drunk men last New Year.

“Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune, and the staccato blasts of powerful firecrackers could be heard all over Manila and other cities on Monday night and early Tuesday morning.”

In my previous posting titled HOME. SICKNESS. (Part 6) “I want and I’ll Share Life-Giving Gifts”, I expressed my thoughts on the relevance of Christmas exposing its hidden distorted nature. There I wrote about how people have become blinded by materialism and consumerism without really understanding the meaning of this celebration about the birth of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ. Equally blinding is the distorted belief that noise could drive evil and misfortune away!

Last Christmas I did not give material gifts and I did not expect to receive any (except a greeting card from artist-friends, a couple from the US). To me the most important thing of all is to practice true Christian love all year long for the rest of our lives. To treat people the way Lord Jesus Christ did is the best gift to them and the struggle to achieve this level in life is likened to saving a lot for the holiday seasons. But this time what I aim to save is Wisdom and Love, according to what pleases our Almighty God and Father, so that I can share and express these to others. These are the things that cannot be bought or hidden by the shallowness of cosmetics just to look nice from the outside for these gifts run deep in the very foundation of one’s Christian spirituality.

It is ironic that during this supposedly “season to celebrate and be happy” still others become depressed and entertained the thought of suicide. (Watch this video here about people depressed during the holiday season and read this article to learn the other meaning of the word SAD.) Obviously, these people who wanted to commit suicide were the ones who were not equipped with real Christian spirituality for they gauge everything in terms of material things just to be “in” during Christmas with the rest of society enslaved by materialism and consumerism.

“Christmas is the season of profound love” according to one article
Holiday Depression By Dr. Richard Boyum . Yet it misses the point about the real essence of Christianity. The profoundness of the love that Lord Jesus Christ taught is not confined only during Christmas season. It will not dissipate after Christmas and will not cause depression just because someone has no money to buy gifts or celebrate. Lord Jesus Christ conquered worldliness and materialism when He succeeded in fasting for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness despite the temptations of the devil who offered Him the wealth of this world if and only if He will bow down to this fallen angel.

Likewise it is ironic too that we celebrate the supposedly birth of Lord Jesus Christ on a date challenged by critics as not the real date of His birth but the date of an ancient pagan celebration to worship the sun. There are links of websites on the Internet discussing this topic. People might even feel sad to see a Christmas without Christmas trees, lanterns, Santa Claus and all those glittery gift-wrappers but won’t care at all to lift a finger and do their share of spreading the Gospels of Lord Jesus Christ. They have obviously fallen in love and in awe of the grandeur of paganism not to get rid of it rather than be joyful of the Good News of Salvation and embrace it.

To me the date is irrelevant because the real essence of His coming is the most important point of all. We may celebrate his birth and experience short-lived happiness but the rest of the year we are depressed, hateful, angry and vengeful among other wicked acts and thoughts because we are ignorant of His teachings. Therefore it is very important to understand the reason for His first coming here on earth to prepare us for His second coming.

If the reason for the birth of Lord Jesus Christ to be celebrated on a pagan holiday is to win converts and save souls then the real meaning of His birth needs to be inculcated in people’s minds and hearts first and foremost rather than for paganism and its original festivities to blind the people with the glitter of gold and bury the real essence of Christianity by materialism and consumerism and to hide the truth about the birth of Lord Jesus Christ from the spiritually ignorant and hungry people.

There is danger in devising dubious means in replacing pagan rituals by what we perceive as Christian yet questionable ways to save souls. The mere fact that with Christmas falling on a pagan holiday the real essence of Christianity lost to paganism and secularism, to materialism and consumerism so is true faith and worship in danger of losing to idolatry when the acceptance of hand graven images was introduced and widely accepted practice in the Catholic church despite the fact that there is confusion among the faithful about what differentiates blatant worship from mere veneration or devotion.

Helpful links:

Bible verses: IDOLATRY


Isaiah’s Polemic Against Idolatry (Isaiah 40-48)

Jesus Christ vs Santa Claus


The Great Christmas Crime

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