What about spending time with loved ones? Or all of the above?
I personally would like to have the internal fortitude to totally reject the gift-giving and gift-receiving part of Christmas. It feels too big to take on, though. On the other hand, it's also too big to keep in. Argh!
In modern day society, it is giving and receiving gifts. Thus, my vote.
Helping the poor.
Because in celebrating Jesus we should aim to live as he would have lived, and if he were living, he would not be celebrating his own birth, he would be helping the poor.
I agree with aotn. Society is now firmly focused on giving and receiving gifts. Any visit to the mall during December wll amply show that.
How much time does the average person devote to thinking about the birth of Christ as opposed to thinking about what, where, how many, how much, what cost etc, of shopping and buying gifts?
A couple of nights ago the "Santa Clause 2" movie was on TV. What is the message of these new movies for children? The overwhelming focus was on getting those presents out to the kids. Not a single word about Christ.
How will Xmas change when todays kids grow up with these messages embedded in their perception of Xmas? Well, it will likely make them good little consumers of corporate goods. Think about it.
In contrast, last night the 1945 movie "Christmas in Conneticut", airing on TVO, stood as a charming and stark contrast to the recent movie. There was absolutely NO emphasis on presents.
spending time with family....
Advent for me, is a time of preparation and I enjoy focussing on the hope, peace, love & joy aspects of Christianity.
Helping the poor, or offering to others, should be an aspect all year, not just at Christmas. To me, I think it is sad that there is such token gifts given to make people feel better. (Let me think, if you give $20 to Salvation Army, and $100 to the foodbank, and then spend $4000 on christmas gifts......there is something wrong with that picture)
Anyhow, for me, christmas is spending time with family...i am unsure how much longer we will have together, so that tradition, especially on the day of Christmas is important to maintain, and yes, this year, it is the most important part of the 12 days of Christmas)
Christmas = Christ Mass = Christ Celebration. Giving and getting gifts, helping the poor and spending time with family are important things all the time, not just at Christmas.
I must say I went with the giving and recieving gifts because I think that that involves both helping the poor since it is gifts you are giving them as well as that in the giving of gifts to friends and families is an act of love that is a way of celebrating Jesus.
I must also point out that it is more the giving not the recieving of gifts that I see as the important part.
Thanks, BethanyK, for reminding me of that.
It is too true..the attempt is to see joy on someone's face. Realmseer referenced that in the blue christmas thread. She has invited someone who would be alone, and picked them up a gift. They are, I am sure, thrilled that they were invited, it is gift alone, but that she bought them a gift as well..clearly thinkin' of them, and makign their day special, well...they will I am sure, smile.
I think that giving gifts is a huge part of Christmas because it is in rememberance of the ultimate gift, God's son. But i think that in today's society it has become to materialistic, too much because we have too and not enough because we are trying to imitate our heavenly father. All in all i think taht celebrating Christ's birth is the main part of christmas and we can use gift-giving to help us remember that but as responsible christians we should be careful in how materialistic it becomes.
Personally celebrating the birth of Christ is what gives this season my purpose. By being reminded of His birthday I am reminded what a gift He is to us and how we are to be a gift to one another, giving generously of ourselves at all times.
I don't think that helping the poor, as a response to this question, negates the fact that helping those less fortunate should be a priority all year long, at least, it doesn't in my life. This may be tricky to explain but, for my family helping the less fortunate is the underlying drift of nearly all we do. Most of the words that come out of my mouth in any given day are underpinned by a deep belief in "we" rather than "me"... and because that underlying belief fuels us all year long, Christmas is for us the pinnacle in terms of celebrating humanity which for me is bound up intimately in Christ - being human and divine (IMHO).
To me, the power of the "we" is the embodiment of that human/divine duality. When we work to alleviate the suffering of others, we are living our divinity. At Christmas, that is what my family is really celebrating. It is not a time when we give token "sad" gifts to charities to ease our guilty conscience. But in celebrating the birth of Christ, spending time with family, giving and receiving gifts - in the midst of all of that, what my family is ultimately doing is celebrating the human/divine experience which to me can only be achieved through working toward the "we", and of all the options given in the original question, "helping the poor" came closest to describing that concept of "we".
WE were never instructed to remember the Birth of Chirst. WE are told to remember and memorialize his death . But the birth is one day that gets all the hoopla and attention. I voted for helping the poor because i have stopped all the giving and receiving of gifts. I met a person on the Sunday before Chistmas who needed a pair of shoes. He was not asking for anything out of the ordinary .....just a pair of shoes so his feet could heal. I saw another person take this need and meet it with a pair of his own shoes. I went home and cleaned out my closet of things that I thought I needed but did not and gave them away. Jesus came among the poor and announced himself to the poor first. I think we could take an example from him.
Yeah celebrate the birth of Jesus by taking care of some of his people.
i agree completely...
celebrate the birth of christ by going out to meet him on the street and helping him where he stands...
we hosted a christmas dinner for 3 people that society has cast aside... it was a wonderful event. i made perogies, borscht, and ham, and we put out all the good plates and cutlery, had christmas crackers so we could wear the silly hats, and drank the good wine and baileys.
it was a wonderful time, and i highly recommend it!!
There isn't just one reason, there isn't an only reason. It is different for everyone.
Some people like to celebrate the birth of jesus, some like to celebrate the solstice, some just like a nice vacation. So many different cultures and religions celebrate in late december that you cannot claim your way your own way to be the right one.
I agree with what Madeleine had to say. I would have liked to have seen the wording for the pole to be more like: celebrating the spiritual aspect of Christmas. I do not celebrate the birth of Jesus. I respect what it is he did and his great wisdom he was able to share, but I celebrate this occassion more around the fact that we are saying good-bye to the longest night of the year and welcoming in the new light and return of longer days. Anyhow, it's not what you believe specifically, it's whether there's an opening in our hearts for spirit.
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