One of the many unfortunate side effects of living in a "progressive" society is that religious holidays, music and even events are looked at through a secular lens. While I do not wish to ridicule those who are not beholden to a particular faith, I do want to make it a point to argue what I believe all people should remember during Christmastime. Firstly, it is important to realize what the true meaning of Christmas is. Secondly, while it is easy to sit in our warm and comfortable homes during this cold month, we must never forget those around the world who are not as fortunate. And lastly, in conjunction with the previous two points, all of us should remember what living in the Christmas spirit looks like.
Sadly, Christmas in the modern age is more of a consumer holiday than it is a religious one. Companies produce a mass of technology, toys and clothing in order to suit the needs of the somewhat ravenous populace. While I will not go on about how this shift from a fairly religious holiday to a secular one came about, it is important to note that it did in fact happen. The early foundations of Christmas arose out of pagan traditions, and eventually the Catholic Church in the middle ages placed importance on the month of December with regards to the coming of Christ and the Yule feast. The traditional celebration of Christmas, however didn't come about until the Protestant Reformation with the works of great writers and theologians from England and Germany. The emphasis of Christ being the giver of gifts, and the idea of the redemption of humanity was a focal point of this Christmas holiday. It can be easy to forget these traditional foundations, especially when our society is keen on looking at things out of context. Just like many classical music listeners forget about the deeply religious undertones of Handel's Messiah, so too do many celebrants of Christmas who forget about its religious significance.
Probably one of the most important things to remember during this time of year is that there are people who do not have the opportunity to celebrate this sacred holiday. From persecuted Christians in the middle east to underprivileged and homeless families in this country and throughout the world, these are just a few of the many groups unable to celebrate the birth of their savior. While you are opening your presents this Christmas and enjoying time with your family, remember the struggles of those throughout the world that need your prayers.
Finally, by recognizing these two aforementioned points, we must all live in the spirit of Christmas. This means that we must show compassion, love and generosity to others. Just as the three kings bore gifts for baby Jesus, we too must bear gifts for our families and friends of all different beliefs and creeds. We must show love for each other in such desperate times. Christmas unites us not necessarily in faith, but in idea. Dare to feel the Christmas spirit, and dare to celebrate it not just for yourselves but for all those around the world. Whether you are Christian, or of any other faith, remember that we must all unite under one common belief and for me that comes through the celebration of Christmas (however for your it could be something else and that is also quite alright).