Thursday, 21 December 2017 06:12

What does Christmas mean to you?

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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Christmas is many things to many different people.

Those who are not Christians may not attend church, but will probably still enjoy the holiday and some of its traditions.
Within the Christian community, there are many divided beliefs; even the Dec. 25 date is offset by some celebrations on Jan. 6 and 7, depending on the calendar used. Language and local traditions vary considerably.
All Christian churches celebrate the birth of Christ. It is supposed to be a time of good will, peace, reflection and giving, that unfortunately doesn’t last throughout the following year.
The rich, famous and powerful all get free time to wish the rest of the world, the best, while pretending to really care. Maxing out credit, mostly for junk we don’t need is one downside.
Drunken Christmas parties, impaired driving, family violence and gorging ourselves are far too common. Somehow, a tiny bit of good still reaches the needy.
The ancient pagan Romans marked Dec. 25, as the date to celebrate the winter solstice in the year 336, noting that Christians were already celebrating  Christmas a shortened form of “Christ Mass” on that date.
The actual name appears around the year 1038.
It is worth noting that it also falls nine months after the Annunciation, as March 25, is the date believed to be the conception of Jesus. It is also said that he died on March 25.
 “Noel”; from the old french Nowel entered the English language in the late fourteenth century. Yule evolved from Old English for a period during January and February.
Feasting, pageants, Christmas music, carolling, wreaths, garlands, special lighting , yule logs, nativity plays, Christmas cards, ivy, evergreen trees, mistletoe and holly have evolved as part of the celebration over many years from many parts of the world. Santa Clause, Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas have been with us for hundreds of years.
During the Middle ages, Christmas became much more prominent. King William of England was crowned on Christmas day in 1066. In 1377, King Richard II hosted a Christmas feast where twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were consumed. Charlemagne was crowned emperor on Christmas day in 800.
Gifting has gone from simple to absurd iniquities and the merchants love it. 
The obsessive mania now starts in October and ends about a hundred days later with an abomination we call Boxing Day designed to squeeze any lose change we may have salvaged from the previous insanity from our trembling hands!
We emerge tired, gilt ridden, broke, depressed, hung over and unhappy. Having learned nothing from our folly, incredulity sets in as we brace ourselves to do it again!
Some of us have grown weary of the reprehensible abyss and its obsessive pitfalls. We chose to skip many of the bad scenes. Some of the money we save from avoiding much of the exuberance we give to the needy. We appreciate real friendship and kinship. We try to live in the spirit of the season long after it ends.
The average Canadian adult spends $766 on Christmas. If one third of Canada’s 30 million adults gave just $100 each from that $760 to charity, more than $1 billion would go to the needy. Please folks, go out and do it!  I assure you that the good feeling you get from your donation will be  one of the best Christmas experiences you have ever enjoyed. It will bring hope and a bit of joy to the less fortunate in your community. And yes, you will get a tax receipt. I will lead by example. My cheque for $100 to the Salvation Army is in the mail.
“Have a safe and Merry Christmas; and may you enjoy good health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year.”

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