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Christmas and new year celebrations: how significant?

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I remember vividly as if it were yesterday when I was only a little boy; I looked forward to Christmas and New Year holidays with an air of relief, satisfaction and relaxation. Relief, because I had the rare chance of putting a pause to the hectic and daily school schedule; satisfaction because it was a time to show off that cloth that 'daddy' bought for me and relaxation because I would go out with my family and friends to have a nice time.

As I cracked open the hard shell of childhood and emerged into adulthood, I discovered there was more to Christmas and New Year celebrations than just frolicking, chewing the fat and having a good time. The significance of these festivities cannot be overlooked, cannot be disputed and cannot be buried into the ground.

Christmas may be a celebrated festival by Christians but its origin shows that it is more than just an ordinary celebration for Christians. Though it is believed that Jesus Christ was not given birth to on the 25th of December, this date was picked by the early Church because it was a day when pagans celebrated their god. They did this with the hope and intention of converting pagans to Christianity.

The date fixed for the commemoration of our Lord and Saviour does not really matter much, what matters is that a redeemer was borne, a rabbi who took a human form in the quest of changing humanity positively. He came so that humanity can be saved, so that sin can be wiped out, so that darkness can be totally separated from light.

Christmas is a time for somber reflection, a time to make up with the creator, a time to relive the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth which took place over 2000 years ago, a time to put a pause to evil and darkness and embrace good and light. It is a time to count our numerous blessings and say a big thank you to God.

January 1st, the beginning of every year is without doubt a memorable and significant day which goes to show why it is accepted and celebrated in such grand fashion.

By midnight on the eve of January 1st, shrill shouts of 'Happy New Year' could be heard in almost every nook and cranny of the world. Fire crackers go bang as happy youth throw them in midair. There is always an extraordinary chill in the heart of everyone as the clock strikes 12.00am; everyone alive is a year older or has witnessed a New Year roll in. There is always high hopes and people pray intently to God for blessing, prosperity and better health. New Year resolutions are muttered or announced publicly by those who believe in it. Old characters are quickly striped off and thrown in the dustbin while new and better characters are quickly embraced.

Calendar systems are based around major historical events and calendars have continually been altered and corrected and sometimes completely rewritten. Fortunately, stability in the alteration of calendar was reached in the year 525AD. It was conceived by a monk named Dionysiux Exiguus. The beginning of the year then was celebrated randomly, in England it was celebrated on 25th March but after the year 1752 it was moved to 1st January.

January is named after a Roman god 'Janus' who is depicted as a two-faced god as he looked in opposite directions. One face looked forward while the other one looked backwards. He is said to be 'the god of all going out and coming in to whom all places and entrance and passage, all doors and gates, were holy'. He is also depicted as carrying two keys, one of them was a silver key and the other was gold to unlock the seasonal gates of the winter and summer solstices.

Literally, this means that the month January allows us to look back on the past years we have spent on earth and forward to the future years we will spend. The question January tends to ask us is; 'how rewarding was the past years? Did we achieve anything worthwile or did we just sit down and watch it pass by us? How do we hope to approach the next year, with relaxed ease or with a burning desire to achieve more and better things?'

Only a fool would be content with what they have. If we think we have done enough, what have we given to the poverty-stricken people in our world? What contributions have we made to alleviate the sufferings of so many orphaned children? How about the disabled among us, what is their fate?

These are food for our thought, let us reflect on them and do the right thing.

Article Source: Messaggiamo.Com


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