Christmas, is the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding terms in other languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French—all probably denote nativity. The German word Weihnachten denotes “hallowed night.” Since the early 20th century, Christmas has also been a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike, devoid of Christian elements, and marked by an increasingly elaborate exchange of gifts. In this secular Christmas celebration, a mythical figure named Santa Claus plays the pivotal role. Christmas is celebrated on Friday, December 25, 2020.
The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date. One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer. Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. One of the difficulties with this view is that it suggests a nonchalant willingness on the part of the Christian church to appropriate a pagan festival when the early church was so intent on distinguishing itself categorically from pagan beliefs and practices.
Whichever details of the Christmas holiday you subscribe to is unimportant. Many religions have their own version of version of the birth of Christ which is fine. What is important is the kindness that we show each other in the weeks leading to December 25th.
The Christmas Spirit Inspires Us All
December 24-26, 1914, during World War I, German and allied troops agreed to a cease fire to collect and bury their dead. But something interesting happened. Perhaps, the Christmas spirit infected everyone. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into a no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, creating one of the most memorable images of the truce.
The Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation, even in quiet sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable and is often seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of human history.
If The Christmas Spirit Has Inspired You Here Are Some Suggested Random Acts Of Kindness
Help a Local CharityDonate food to your food pantry. Take some time to explain why families might need to use a food bank and then go shopping together. Let the children pick out most of the items. Explain that you want to buy healthy food, but encourage your children to include a few treats as well. If possible have your children accompany you when you drop the food off at the food bank.
Say Thank You
Say thank you to anyone who’s inspired you. Get a handful of $10 WaWa gift cards and hand them out to whomever. The mail carrier, the FedEx/Ups carrier or a complete stranger. The more spontaneous the better.
Give The Gift Of Time
I’ve always said this is the most precious gift and most difficult to give. It’s much easier to gift something of monetary value than ones time. But if you can do it you will feel a rewarding sense of giving like you may have never experienced.
Something Silly But Simple
Candy cane bomb a parking lot. It’s simple! Just go around sticking candy canes and a note on car windshields for people to discover. Sounds silly but you may just make someone smile.
Stay safe everyone and make the absolute best of this holiday season.
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