What is the true meaning of Christmas

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Adapted from a speech I made in St Ann’s Church, Rainhill. I was asked to write a speech on the meaning of Christmas. And while not everyone was there (If you weren’t, I hope you find coal in your stocking) then I have my speech here.

Ho Ho Ho. It’s that time of the year again. I have been struggling about what to say for this. But I wanted to talk about the meaning of Christmas…yes that sounds really cliché? How many times have you personally heard someone talk about the ‘true meaning of Christmas?’

I recall one time, when I was on my Christmas break at home, and I watched a few Christmassy movies and TV specials. A few had a religious message about what Christmas is, some had an anti corporate message, and some were just about spending time with family. Aww. So, as I am writing this and thinking about what to talk about, I want to talk about the meaning of Christmas. But there are so many interpretations!To look at what Christmas is, I looked online. The original Christmas was a Pagan holiday associated with the Winter Solstice and worshipping of the sun. It only started getting celebrated in Western churches in the 4th century. In fact, the Church doesn’t consider it the most important Christian holiday. However; in terms of cultural and social significance, Christmas is certainly the most popular. It’s actually quite interesting to see how Christmas has evolved from simply celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, to having all the commercialism, Father Christmas, Elves, Band Aid, Christmas trees, Christmas TV, The Queen’s speech you watch when you are eating your oversized Christmas roast. All those things you associate with Christmas came much later on.

Christmas has become so much more than what it set out to be, all those centuries ago. It isn’t even an exclusively Christian observance anymore, many non religious people celebrate Christmas, and other religions also celebrate their own, similar holidays. Because there is so much Christmas, to find a true meaning is actually hopeless. Some will claim that it is too commercialised; I know I have in the past. In fact, I have done for many years.

However, I have thought long and hard about it. And I have been thinking about it for some time, to the point that I was delaying finishing this. I believe that I was looking at Christmas the wrong way, I was going about this message the wrong way. The fact of the matter is, you cannot give Christmas one meaning. The fact of the matter is, in our society, Christmas simply cannot have one meaning.

Christmas is a time to celebrate. Celebrate what though? Well, the short answer is whatever you want Christmas to be. I want you to think long and hard, about all your family traditions, what you do on Christmas day. I guarantee that it is very different to the individual that is sitting next to you. I could go on about one meaning to Christmas, but that would only be my interpretation. The fact of the matter is that Christmas has a meaning completely unique to you.

I can only say that when you are celebrating Christmas, you think about those less fortunate than yourself, give your family a hug; because the time we have is finite. And, please, consider leaving that last mince pie where it is, and try not to get too drunk. Last think you want is Boxing Day Blues.

Is that all I have to say? Yes. All there is to say is Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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