The celebration of Christmas
Published 3:11 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Do you remember Charlie Brown’s question?
The late cartoonist, Charles Schulz, once had the trouble-making Lucy appear almost loving at first.
“Merry Christmas! Charlie Brown.” Lucy says and follows up by saying, “At this time of the year, I think we should put aside our differences and try to be kind.”
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But Charlie Brown asks a pertinent question, “Why does it have to be just this time of the year? Why can’t it be all year ’round?”
Then Lucy reverts to her true form.
“What are you,” she asks huffily, “some kind of fanatic or something?”
I must be a fanatic. I want to ask the same question, “Why does it have to be just this time of the year?”
To borrow the words of a song by Red West, “Why can’t everyday be like Christmas; Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly; For if everyday could be just like Christmas; What a wonderful world this would be.”
I believe everyday can be just like Christmas. All it takes to accomplish this is to remember the meaning of Christmas and to learn how to really celebrate Christmas.
Christmas comes from the two words, “Christ” and “Mass.” Christ is derived form the Greek word “Christo,” which means anointed. It refers to the long-awaited Messiah whom the Jews believed would be a divine, imperial King and who would rule the world. This person turned out to be the only perfect Son of God, the anointed of the Lord.
The word “mas,” in the religious sense, means to send or dismiss. It has been used for centuries by much of the church to designate worship or the celebration of worship.
Therefore, the word “Christmas” indicates the worship of the Lord’s Anointed. The Christmas celebration is the sending forth the message that the Anointed One has arrived. This message should be sent forth every day of the year, not just on one particular holiday.
The celebration of Christmas may also be a daily event when celebrated in the tradition of the first Christmas.
The first Christmas was not marked with trees, lights, parties or gifts. The first Christmas had four elements of celebration. There was the singing of the angels, the awe of the shepherds, the pride of new parents and the calm of the Christ Child.
Scriptures repeatedly remind us to sing a new song unto the Lord. This new song is like the song the Heavenly Host sang on the night of Jesus’ birth. It a song that praises God, that gives God the glory for all He has done, and proclaims the peace “that passeth understanding” upon the earth. A new melody that can be heard in our hearts daily.
Shepherds first stood in fear as their night was invaded by the Angel of the Lord and the Heavenly Host. Fear quickly turned to awe as they heard the message and sought the Christ Child. Awe is defined as wonder inspired by the sacred. The awe of Christmas is experienced each time we encounter the Christ of Christmas in our lives throughout the year.
Proud parents presented their child to the shepherds and others. They were as ecstatic as any new parents. This parental pride is echoed and celebrated daily as new children enter the Kingdom of God.
The calm of the Christ Child is the essence of the promise of Christmas. The Christ Child is the Emmanuel, God with us. The presence of God in our life can never be restrained to a single day or a single event. He is with us daily. That is the Good News, the celebration that should take place every day of the year.
Personally, I am with you Charlie Brown!
Christmas should be celebrated all year round in the manner it was celebrated on the night Christ was born. There should be singing in the hearts of all who believe. There should be a sense of awe at the very presence of God in our live and in the world. There should be excitement that accompanies the birth of a child each time a person is born into the Kingdom of God. And we should have the calm of the Christ Child in our lives.
Every day should be Christmas day, the day of celebrating God with us.
Christmas should be celebrated all year round in the manner it was celebrated on the night Christ was born. There should be singing in the hearts of all who believe.