What Christmas Is, Really

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Time just goes by so fast. It just feels like the quarter has just started, and is now ending and then all of a sudden, here comes Christmas. The vibes, the gifts, the parties all of it coming back to mind whenever Christmas is coming. All these things and many, many, many more come to mind whenever Christmas comes. And one thing in the mind of almost all Xavier students, the much awaited Christmas break. After undergoing the very hectic third quarter, both teachers and students get to enjoy this much awaited break. Some celebrating with their families, their friends or others on their own. Although there is just so much hype surrounding this much awaited Christmas break, there is much more to that, and this I believe is for everyone to actually appreciate the true meaning of Christmas.
What is the true meaning of Christmas?

For us students, Christmas is simply a time for gift giving, and a time to relax, a time to get away from school, and yes this is true, but there is simply more to that than simply gift giving and relaxation. According to the Bible, Christmas is defined as the time to celebrate God’s love for all of us. Celebrating the birth of His son, Jesus Christ. And yes, it is right, especially in the eyes of us Catholics, but hasn’t it made some people curious about how Christmas is viewed in the eyes of people from different cultures or religions.
On a more cultural basis, Christmas is viewed in very different ways. Americans see Christmas about Santa, his reindeer, hot chocolate and candy canes. Egyptians view Christmas as a feast of gifts, picnics, and of sports. The Germans, similar to our tradition light up an advent wreath as a sign of preparation for the coming season of Christmas. Every culture sees Christmas in very different ways, and this really depends on how they were raised. For instance, here in the Philippines, Christmas would be associated with parols, the carolers on the street, and best of all, the Christmas party.
If religion were to be used as a basis for celebrating Christmas, almost every religion would have a very very different way of celebrating Christmas. Atheists simply celebrate a winter solstice, a day in the year when daytime is shortest and nighttime is longest. Buddhists celebrate Christmas as ‘Bodhi Day’. On this day, Buddhists celebrate how Buddha sat under a Fig tree and has achieved enlightenment. Jews celebrate Christmas as Hanukkah. Hanukkah is an 8 day observance of recalling the past events that has happened on those days. Seen here, many people celebrate Christmas, but simply coin it with different terms, but still implying the same meaning that everyone else is trying to imply.
But does Christmas actually lie simply on a cultural or on a religious basis? Some people choose to celebrate Christmas or not to celebrate just because they want to, not because their cultures require them to do so. It’s something that probably grows out of the person, if they would or would not want to celebrate Christmas. As said, there is a lot more to Christmas than meets the eye.

Image taken from http://www.sakura-hostel.co.jp/blog/Christmas-Santa-Sleigh.jpg

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