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Where Did Christmas Come From?

Where did Christmas come from? The answer to that question may not be as straightforward as you think. I’ve linked to an article from here and hope you’ll read through it to see the many historical influences on the holiday we celebrate today.

For Christians, the holiday marks a time of celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ, or Messiah. While the exact day of his birth is unknown, Christmas day has been the day chosen to honor that event. Some, because of the pagan or cultural influences on events and symbols surrounding Christmas, disparage activities and feel they have no place in faith practices. As you read the article in the link above, you’ll understand why that might be the case. Personally, I recognize there are elements of modern Christmas celebrations that have roots in culture rather than faith. However, I believe the practice of pausing and honoring the birth of the person at the core of Christian faith has much value, particularly for families.

Faith is an important value to many families. For ours it is Christianity. You may be Jewish or another faith. If so, think of the things that happen when we celebrate faith-based holidays.

  • Faith matters are discussed openly among both family and friends. It’s a time to build faith among the newer members of the family and reinforce the faith of those we love with a shared celebration and commemoration of the source of our hope.

  • Times of preparation for the traditions of the celebration are shared and passed from one generation to the next. Ritual and tradition have a place in building security and stability in young ones.

  • Characteristics such as generosity, sharing, and caring are demonstrated in front of new generations. Actions to help our fellow man become teaching moments for new generations and help instill and reinforce the values we hold dear.

  • Families gather together, sometimes for the only time during a year. Grands get an opportunity to see connections beyond their immediate family.

  • Skills such as cooking, crafting, and entertaining are passed down from one generation to the next.

  • Love and hope can blossom if we are careful to keep conflict away and bring our best into all celebratory experiences.

The history of Christmas is filled with twists and turns, symbols, and traditions that are not directly related to the birth of Christ. But your family history will be what you make it. Take time during the holiday season to think through your core faith values, the family traditions you’ve enjoyed or any new ones you want to start, and how to share them with the younger generations.

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