Do I love Christmas? Of course I do. I am an only child and the youngest in the family for years! Who doesn’t and who wouldn’t? Surely as a child, it was due to the fact that I looked forward to the presents wrapped beautifully under the tree from Santa (signed with “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and “you have been a very good girl”) and the other gifts from family and friends. As an adult, I now live to see the big bright smile on my child’s face especially upon knowing that Santa ate the homemade chocolate chip cookies and “accidentally” spilled the milk. (Poor Santa gets blamed for eating messy! Crumbs everywhere and not wiping the milk off followed by “Santa didn’t put the plate and glass on the counter! Why Mom?!”)
How did it all start…to begin with and/or in the first place? I myself does not have the slightest clue how it all came about because…well, no one can really pinpoint how it all came about. However, I can direct you to a website to help explain why most Christian families celebrate the birth of Jesus on the date that the ancient Romans picked during the Winter solstice. Be advised, that although those may help shed light to the idea or notion of the history of Christmas but it also will raise a few more questions.
With childhood memories to knowing that Christmas was celebrated long before Jesus was even born, I still cannot give myself the finalized meaning of Christmas to help me explain to my child the essence of Christmas. One would think that at my age, the vast sources of information available and the experiences I have had, I should by now have this meaning of Christmas memorized.
Perchance, thanks to tradition, maybe Christmas is about giving presents, tight hugs and loving kisses to family and friends after or over the big lavish supper. And maybe, to add more depth into the event, dig deeper into history and relive the beginnings. Give my time to the community to help the elderly, give toys to disfavored children, give alms to the poor and the hungry, even donate blood to save a life. But deep down, that does not seem to answer the question: what is Christmas?
As the day does by leading each day closer to Christmas, I have decided to decorate the new tree. The rule I gave myself this year is to only hang new ornaments and a few old ones that carry beautiful treasured memories. (Yes that is what Christmas ornaments should be. Especially if they were selected and made by my child.) I was smiling and the anticipation of hopefully seeing what I have envisioned was overwhelming. I have then experienced such happiness as I put the decorations on. Was I smiling because what was in my hand that pretty? Yes. Was I smiling because my child could not contain the excitement? Yes. Was I smiling because it brought back very good healthy memories and reminded me of family traditions? Yes. So why was I smiling? Because it hit me where it matters the most. My heart. Christmas is a very personal thing and it is close to my heart. It is also an event that may be celebrated by only a few people who truly love each other.
Today, I have redefined the meaning of my Christmas. It is about traditions, keeping ties stronger and more importantly, it is about peace and joy. That is what is in my heart and in the heart of my family.
But how to spread peace and joy is a task of it’s own. A journey to some. . I guess, if you are to truly experience Christmas, you have to have peace within you to be able to share what peace. And to spread joy, one must be genuinely selfless and generous enough to think of others big beautiful heartfelt smile or even laughter before one’s own.
What’s your meaning of Christmas?