At this time of year, I always think it’s nice to remember what’s important. Christmas means different things to different people and although the word’s roots are in the Christian doctrines, the festival’s traditions certainly are not. At least, not originally. So the spirit of Christmas – or the holidays, if you’d prefer – are not to be limited only to those who follow Christ.
And yet, in their simplest terms, the things that Jesus Christ is thought to symbolise – love, respect and the spirit of giving – may be notions which existed in societies long before that inspirational carpenter’s son ever spoke but they are no less important for that fact. That Jesus’ teachings intended a reaffirmation of such admirable notions is fortunate for those of us who grew up in a modern society so strongly influenced by those doctrines. Whether you believe in the supernatural side of the Jesus story or not, the core principles that he symbolises are worthy of celebration.
Of course, you may say that we can celebrate those notions at any time of the year – and you are correct. But living in the modern world and coping with the stresses and strains associated with modern life mean that we often forget what’s really important. To show compassion, friendship, love and respect for our friends, family and strangers alike is possibly the most admirable thing we humans can do. That’s what Christmas means to me and that’s why I celebrate at this time of year.
So I think it’s important, no matter what your faith or beliefs, to observe those basic principles of humanity. To love, to promote compassion and to enjoy the company of your friends and family. This is as good a time as any to remind ourselves of that.