Do People Really “Get It” about Why We Celebrate Christmas?

Do People Really “Get It” about Why We Celebrate Christmas is the Subject of this Big B File.

Mary & Joseph Looking at the infant child Jesus in the Manger

           Recently, my twin sister Melissa suggested that I look into putting together an online Christmas wish list on Best Buy’s website of all the electronics stuff I would like to have for Christmas.  The more I mulled over the suggestion, the more I wondered if people really “get it” about Christmas.  In other words, I wondered if people really get the whole point of why we even have Christmas in the first place to begin with.

           Do you even know what the whole point of why we celebrate Christmas is?  The whole point of why we celebrate Christmas and as the phrase goes “the reason for the season” is this….we are celebrating the birthday of someone very special….Jesus Christ of Nazareth himself.   The term Christmas itself comes from the Old English term Cristes Maesse, meaning Mass of Christmas or as the Merriam-Webster says Christ’s Mass.  Christmas is the very day that Jesus came down from Heaven and humbled himself so much that he was born of the Virgin Mary in a manger as a result of no rooms being available for them in the inns in Bethlehem.

           People seem to forget and/or not take seriously what the importance of Christmas is, while others in the Media, Hollywood, etc. are doing  by any means necessary to eradicate from the public square along with the hearts and minds of people what the whole reason for the season is and why we celebrate it in the first place.  Remember the original Christmas story, as outlined in the Gospel of Luke in the Holy Bible?

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.

When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

–       Luke 2:1-21 (The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE))

           Now, what you just read is the true and accurate account of the first Christmas that ever occurred.  The above reading illustrates for us perfectly the whole point of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.  In that reading, St. Luke is telling us why Christmas is much more than exchanging gifts, cards, going to parties, among others….much more than all of that.  Here is what I said in the Big B Files from December 24, 2009 entitled “The Meaning of Christmas and a Very Personal Story”. . .

           “I think back to past years to how we would complain about the food, the Christmas tree, not getting presents (or about the present if we got one), or some other issue… the Big B Files cannot believe that there is a Christmas party or Christmas dinner with family anywhere to where this has not occurred. What about in your family?

          What we went through last Christmas day… my sister and I… made me realize how Paley and in significant the complaints about the food prizes etc. really is and how blessed and privileged we really are to have the food, presents, being with family and more when there are people in this world and in this country who will not have the privilege of any of that on the very day that we celebrate the birthday of a king.

          Maybe when we go to church, and the attendant at family celebrations, we should humble ourselves just like Jesus did in that lonely manger on Christmas night by simply being blessed and be grateful for what we have and by keeping in mind those people among us who literally have to struggle to get what little they have and/or just to make it another in our communities, in this nation, and in this world.”   

             For me, my Christmas begins early with the Mass at Midnight for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas).  Going to Midnight Mass is a personal requirement for me and means a lot to me because of the Significance of the hour and that he was born at night, as well as the pure joy of the particular mass along with other reasons that I just simply cannot put into words here and you have to experience yourself. 

             As Pope Benedict XVI said on December 9, 2012, the Feast of St Juan Diego, “In the consumer society, in which we seek joy in things, John the Baptist teaches us to live in an essential way, so Christmas is experienced not only as an outward party outside, but as the feast of the Son of God who came to bring peace, life and true joy to people.”  Christmas is the time to reflect on the reason for the season and what is should mean in our hearts and minds of all of us . . . and I do mean ALL of us.  And as I had said before in a previous Big B Files, “To put it in modern terms . . . Jesus was born in a little manger in Bethlehem, which is which is a biblical times version of the horse stall. Now the Big B Files is not saying that people are giving birth in the horse stall or saying anything negative about horses or horse stalls, but I wanted to give you an idea of God will place that Jesus was born in over 2000 years ago today. I don’t know about you, but the analogy that I just told you is one of best examples of humble beginnings…if not of humility in general.” 

           . . . From the Big B Files…may you and yours have a happy and blessed Christmas and happy birthday Jesus. And that is the Big B Files. Click on the comments link below and let me know what you think . . . . I’m Bryan Hewing.



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