Entry # 2: Dec 24 1998 - Christmas
Today, on Christmas Eve, the day of our hopes and wishes has come - symbolic for what we expect from the world around us; symbolic for what we used to yearn for as children. Still, getting presents seems to be the primary objective today; with the Christmas tree set up nicely in the living room, the windows and streets and houses decorated with all those little gimmicks, even the entry to the homepage supplied with stuff like that. Very nice, but important?
Likewise, we usually hope for a White Christmas (even in Hawaii? well, I'm not so sure about that) - hoping for a soft, tender, bright and clean carpet being applied to the world; hiding all problems and dirt and conflicts under it. Then we think of Christmas songs in the radio and on the streets and in the warehouses; we are used to Christmas specials of our favorite television programs, to the Christmas movies appearing in this season. And, of course, we are expecting some days off.
Well, that's it, isn't it? Oh, wait, there was something, yeah, isn't this a Christian holiday? Well, Christmas has the name of Christ within it, in other languages similar hints are appearing, referring to the clerical character of this day. The birth of Christ - the birth of the Son of God. Born to us, as a human being, a message from God that he does care about us. We are used to see Christ Jesus as the little, cute, helpless baby lying there in the manger, with Mary and Joseph and some shepherds and some sweet little sheep around. Christmas, the birth of a baby.
Christmas is nonsense without Easter; Christmas is nonsense without Good Friday. The manger contains the Cross within it; the Cross leading to resurrection, not just of Jesus, but of mankind. This is no cute little baby, this is the savior, the preserver of us all. In manger and Cross, there is the blood of Christ, the blood of the martyrs, the sins of the world, the future of us all. A Christmas tree without a manger is nonsense, a house with a Christmas tree but without a Cross is nonsense. Christmas is no nice tradition, it ain't just a nice season.
The secular world likes to misuse religious feasts, likes to dismantle them, to remove the religious meaning and keep the symbols. Christmas is being reduced to presents and to Christmas trees, Hanukkah reduced to some candles; Easter then gets a bunny and eggs. But when I think of Christmas, I think of the birth of the Son, when I think of Hanukkah I think of the victory of the Maccabees over the secular Roman oppression and the restitution of the Temple in Jerusalem. The so called spirit of Christmas is an artificial construction served to replace the original concept; perhaps because the secular world dislikes religious concepts?
December 24th, 1998