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Christmas musings II

USA | Saturday, 26 December 2009 | Views [433]

Lately, in the lead up to Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about the feel of Christmas. So far from home and family it feels so different. It doesn't feel like Christmas. But then again what is Christmas?

A celebration. A time for family. A time of joy and giving. ???

To everyone Christmas has a different meaning, a different feeling. So to say this is Christmas, is to tell someone what your Christmas is. Ask 10 people, their answers may be similar but i bet that you'll get 10 different replies.  

As this is my first Christmas in a different country and season this has been a popular topic in our house. I've been waiting for the tipping point, the point to which I'll say now it feels like Christmas. I've realised that point may never come, it's been a round about way to discover, but I've found that Christmas and all it encompasses are boundless.

I think i need to back up a little to explain this fully. Last weekend I was in Chicago. I had been told that this would be the place to really learn what Christmas is. I had the expectation that to have Christmas [at least a party] in the snow would be the key to unlocking the secret of Christmas.

Having been and come back, reflecting upon it all I think that I already had an understanding of Christmas. What I gained understanding of was a North American Christmas. I began to learn the importance of, and need for festivities in a long cold winter.  

Christmas in the States, especially in the cold north [as I interpret it], has evolved from a celebration of just Christmas and merged with the celebrations of the winter solstice. Festivities for the sake of maintaining sanity. As the days grow shorter, colder and the nights are longer, darker; I can imagine how one would become depressed. Gosh, in the relatively short and mild winter of Queensland I start to crave warmth and long days of sunshine I can't imagine seemingly endless months of frigid cold.

In a long, dark, cold winter Christmas brings life. The importance of the decorations, the live tree, the outdoor lights it's all clearer now. The tree truly represents life. The coloured lights bring cheer and joy. The parties bring warmth to homes, smiles to faces, joy to a community.

My Christmas in Australia is summer. All that summer entails, and the beach is central to the holiday. Christmas lights, Christmas carols, Christmas parties, family and friends gather as the sun dips below the horizon, its light fading but its touch of warmth lingers on. Together as one, united one sentiment - to celebrate the season.

As the cards all say, Jesus is the reason for the season. Faith, Hope, Love. I celebrate the birth of Jesus, My Lord, My Saviour. I believe that the Christmas season is when we are most free to demonstrate all that Jesus inspires - love, charity, grace, forgiveness, fellowship/togetherness, hope. These values listed above, cover what I've always thought to be as  the core of Christmas; the values that are universally acknowledged and embraced.

I understand now that though they have the same name, same origins and share the same date; Christmas in Australia and America are easily two different holidays. Similar, but different enough that I'd almost go as far as to say they are incomparable. The core may be the same, but the execution of the sentiments create wholly separate holidays. 

To Every person the meanings, traditions of Christmas are different. Every year they are evolving and developing. As we grow and our minds expand with all our new revelations, motivations,and experiences so to do our Holidays. Think back over your life and you'll see what I mean. Your priorities at Christmas from 2, 5, 10yrs ago are different to this years. You are different from those years. With the ebb and flow of life your values and priorities are adjusted, by the time you reach Christmas, what was important last year may not even be a blip on this years radar.

Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus, God's own son. God who is infinite, beyond comprehension, beyond human explanation, larger than any label or box we try to put Him in. Why do we think that we can label and box up Christmas?

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