01 Dec Christmas – Dec 13
By Firman Rianto
In this summer December in Sydney, Australia, we sing a song that our counterparts in the cold winter Vancouver are living. We are “dreaming of a white Christmas”, while they are living a white Christmas. Despite the differences, more and more people are asking similar questions at this of the year.
What is Christmas?
Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the exact month and day of his birth are unknown, December 25th is one of two dates that corresponds with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived.
When I was younger my grandfather always takes me to a toy store every Saturday and buy me gift. And we have this grey-bearded man depicted without fail every year around Christmas.
So is Santa Jesus’ grandpa that gives him gifts?
Santa does likes to give gifts but his origin is a Dutch figure with basis of tales concerning the historical figure of Christian bishop and gift giver Saint Nicholas. The figure Santa Clause is loosely related to Jesus Christ. However Saint Nicholas loved Christ more than anything else and he expressed it by his generosity in helping others.
What about this Christmas tree?
This one is a can of worm. The origin of this custom of decorating tree with lights and singing around it has been obscured. There are two strong possibility of what it might originate from for Christians: 1) Paradise tree in Eden which bears the knowledge of good and evil; 2) Christmas light or star of Betlehem which guides the wise men from the east to Christ. Customs and popularity might mix these two and it become trees with decorated lights. Some reader might be thinking, this is far fetched. And I agree.
I prefer to celebrate Christ redeeming us from the curse of the law as he was hanged on a tree so that in him the blessing might comes to everyone in the world.
McGowan, Andrew. “How December 25 Became Christmas, Biblical Archaeology Review, Retrieved 2009-12-13”. Bib-arch.org. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
Orthodox America. “St. Nicholas” http://www.roca.org/OA/5/5m.htm
Dr. Bucher, Richard P. “O Christmas Tree: The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree”