The birth of Christ is what Christians believe in, remember and celebrate every year. Of late, however, Christmas is becoming more of a non-religious event which everyone likes to join in. To help such secular participation, instead of associating it with the birth of Christ, there is a trend to regard Christmas as just a Holiday season. The traditional Christmas tree, Christmas cakes, Santa Claus, the Star, or the decorations, are no longer confined to Christian homes but are proliferating into shopping malls and public places. The week from Christmas to New Year’s Day is becoming a week of mass celebration, enjoyment and merriment. This is of course welcome, but the history, tradition and religious background of Christmas should not be lost in the process.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This verse from the Bible is the essence of the Christian faith and theology, it is the essence of the gospel, it is the good news. This is the reason why Christians think about and celebrate Christmas every year.
In the historical sense, Jesus Christ was born only once. He died on the cross only once. These historical events of birth and death are not going to happen again and again. But it is the experience of the followers of Christ that he who conquered death through his resurrection is alive and taking birth in their hearts. As St Paul wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
That is why although Christmas may be coming just once every year, we have to make it a habit of celebrating it every day in our lives. The Christian life is a daily challenge, but it also opens up a new opportunity of serving God every day. The Christian life is one in which we keep growing every day. Our aim has to be to live as Christ lived, and to present Christ to the outside world in thought, word and deed.
Christmas has to be a celebration of the spirit. It has to be Christmas every day!