What is the true meaning of Christmas?


It is commonly known that Christmas is a Christian celebration of the day of birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It is celebrated all over the world and is synonymous with gifts, mistletoe, lights and decorations.

But what is the true meaning of Christmas? Why do we celebrate on December 25 the way we do and where did it all come from?

In 1822 a poem was written called ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’. The poem helped popularise the tradition of exchanging gifts and thus seasonal Christmas shopping began to have a greater impact on economies.

According to Harriet Beecher Stowe, an American author, the true meaning of Christmas is ‘to give up one’s self, to think only of others and how to bring happiness to others, that is the true meaning of Christmas.’

The traditions as we know them today have developed throughout history into the almost ritualistic decoration of Christmas trees and wrapping of gifts prevalent in all corners of the globe.

Each country has different theories and histories surrounding the day, all of which can be traced back through time to a singular moment or incident that triggered an ‘evolution’ of celebration.

For South Africans, Christmas is also considered by Christians to be a Holy day. However, for many, it is a day to spend time with family, eat far too much and bask in the warmth of love and festive cheer.

Many families have over the years changed their perceptions of Christmas, choosing not to remain with traditions passed down from generation to generation.

Due to the connotation of family and love and togetherness, Christmas is also one of the times during the year with the highest suicide rate. People feel abandoned, feel left out and most importantly the closure of businesses and places of work give free time to reflect on the negative occurrences throughout the year.

As you light up your Christmas braai fire, or preheat the oven for your special ham dish, take a moment to reflect on friends and family for who a phone call or a text has been long overdue.

Put aside differences and try to resolve the differences that separate the most important thing in life: family.

While you hang up your decorations, and dust off the carol CD’s, take some time and reflect on what Christmas means to you and your family.

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