Chri$tmas vs. Christmas: Finding the True Spirit of the Holiday Season

The arrival of winter brings along Christmas, which people consider the most anticipated holiday of the year. This festive season gives the go-ahead for excited shoppers to flood shopping malls and online stores in a fierce battle to score the biggest seasonal markdowns. One may catch a glimpse of late birds hurriedly running down the aisle at Wal-Mart in an attempt to pick and choose amongst whatever is left. In the thick of this frenzy, however, many are actually unaware of the true meaning behind Christmas.

According to a new study by LifeWay Research, nine in ten Americans personally celebrate Christmas. Eighty percent of those respondents reveal that family traditions are the most important part of the holiday. Furthermore, self-proclaimed Christians are ironically among the most likely to celebrate aspects of the season not in connection with Christ’s birth, with 66 percent stating that they watch fictional Christmas movies, as compared to less than half of atheists and Americans of other religions.  The research also proved that these Christians constitute a large percentage of those who inform their children of the existence of Santa Claus and how  he, not the parents themselves, brings them their presents on Christmas Eve.

The present concept of Christmas has become distorted from that of the first Christmas nearly two thousand years ago—one that was rugged and modest. The respectable birthday of Jesus Christ is misrepresented as a celebratory day revolving around presents and the fictional Santa Claus. The decorated tree, merry carolers, and themed décor that one normally expects around Christmastime are only vestiges of popular culture that know nothing of the birth of Jesus.

Christmas, according to the Bible and other religious texts, originated from one night in Bethlehem two thousand years ago when a young woman named Mary and her husband Joseph had to travel to the city of Bethlehem for a census ordered by the king. When they finally arrived at Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay because, by then, the inns were full. The young couple spent their night inside a stable, where baby Jesus was born in a manger. Indeed, Christ was born in the most humble of circumstances, none of which is mirrored in the commercialized holiday people around the world celebrate today.

In a secular society, the notion of Christmas having a religious aspect may be but a distant memory fading away. This holiday is often viewed merely as a shopping occasion, and the bulk of the population is reluctant to turn the tide. Although implementing the ideals of the traditional Christmas into today’s society would be impractical, we should at least acknowledge the coming holiday as a true celebration of the birth of the Son of God. For indeed, Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season.