ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
Nowhere in the Scripture where we could find the exact date of Jesus’ birth. Traditionally , we claim that Christ was born on the 25th of December. But as to it’s veracity is still debatable. Some argued that Jesus was born not on the month when the weather is as cold as that of December. Scholars believe that the month of December was chosen only to counteract the pagan Roman celebrations honoring their pagan gods i.e. Mithras (god of light) and Saturnus (the harvest god).
However, I believe that exact date of Jesus’ birth should not be of so much concern to anyone considering the fact that Christmas is a celebration of the Incarnation and not just a memorial of a specific date.Christmas is not just about the birth of Jesus. It doesn’t matter therefore even if we may not be celebrating Jesus’ birth on the exact date when he was born. The celebration of his birth should be contemplated in it’s deeper meaning and that is the mystery of Jesus’ incarnation. The Son of God became man. In the Nicene Creed we profess, “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
The word Christmas originates from the Old English “Cristes Maesse” literally translated “the Mass of Christ.” And therefore every time the Mass is celebrated and we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we are like celebrating Christmas. Christmas is all about Jesus becoming man to be with us.
We celebrate Christmas Eve because it is believed that Jesus was born at midnight. Significantly, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, literally means “the house of bread.” In Hebrew Beth-lehem is two words and means “house” (Beth as in Beth-el, “house of God”) and “bread” (lehem). While Jesus was laid in a manger. Manger in itself has its significance. The word “Manger” comes from the Latin word “Munducare” meaning “to eat.” It was , therefore, highly symbolic that Jesus was laid in a manger. We now have a more profound understanding of the Eucharist. The manger has become a sign that Jesus is sustenance for us. In the Eucharist we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). We partake of Jesus in the form of Bread and Wine (His Body and Blood).
The story of Christmas is the story of God’s becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. But why would God wants to be with us? Well , because we need a Savior. We need redemption. And because God loves us so much. Celebrating Christmas is a celebration of God’s immense love for mankind. The real meaning of Christmas should be a celebration of God’s love with our family and friends. Make the celebration of Christmas more meaningful by imitating Christ in the giving of himself. Nowadays Christmas has become too commercialized. Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas? Let us put Christ back in the celebration of Christmas. Our focus should not be on material things that could only bring us fleeting and superficial happiness. One should seek the joy that Christmas brings. Christ alone could provide us that real joy.Let’s find more meaning in the giving than in receiving.
At this point, allow me to share with you my favorite Christmas story: