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The Real Meaning of Christmas

A pregnant lady and her partner have to travel to a distant city of Bethlehem to pay their taxes. They find there are no rooms available for the night and find only a stable for the night. During the night her baby is born.

Three wise men, the magi, observe an astronomical phenomenon in the sky. Recognizing its significance they journey, with gifts, to Bethlehem to welcome a very special baby.

A group of shepherds tending their sheep at night see an apparition. Though at first terrified it assures them it means no harm, instead telling them to also go to Bethlehem. The angel is joined by companions who bid peace and good will toward humanity.

Perhaps these accounts remind you of your school nativity play, or your earliest understanding of the meaning of Christmas.

Maybe as a child you remember making a special effort to be good in the weeks leading up to December 25th. Or writing a letter, hanging a stocking, or leaving a glass of wine and a snack for a kindly old man with a bushy white beard named Santa Claus.

Of course what Jesus and Father Christmas have in common is the embodiment of unconditional love. Of giving of oneself to others without thought of anything in return. And more than two thousand years on their message is kept alive in the widespread celebration of Christmas. Or is it?

The actual origin of the Christmas celebration is much older than Lord Jesus having its roots in paganism. It began as a feast to mark the winter solstice, the shortest day, or the point at which the days gradually begin to grow longer. And it is in perfect keeping with the Christmas message of peace and goodwill between men that it shares its celebration with something more ancient.

A particularly poignant demonstration of the real meaning of Christmas came among the extremes of inhumanity of the first world war battlefield on December 24th 1914. English and German soldiers emerged from their trenches and shook hands and exchanged gifts in "no man's land", some even playing football together. This moment that beneath the uniform they were all alike; butchers, bakers, craftsmen, and clerks. All forced to take arms against their fellow man by the utter stupidity of their so-called "superiors".

In contemporary western culture the real meaning of Christmas has been submerged by rampant commercialism and self-indulgence. Rather than being a celebration of unconditional love we feel pressured into spending more than we can afford, many going into debt in the process. We are also encouraged to eat more food and drink even more alcohol than we know is good for us at office parties and other "obligatory" gatherings. In some parts of England the true - Spiritual -meaning of Christmas has actually been demonized by the ridiculous politically correct police.

Why is it that more than 2,000 years on we are still unable to embrace peace and good will among one another? The answer is partly because we are human, and as such we are imperfect. Our reason for being here is to learn, to move closer to perfection.

No one is saying we shouldn't celebrate this time of year. After the trials and efforts of the previous year, we have surely earned that pleasure. But let's try to keep it a true pleasure and not a stressful ordeal. In giving remember the truth in the adage "it's the thought that counts", not the price ticket.

And among the flashy, trashy commercialism, and the over-indulgence, spend a few moments to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, to send out some loving, healing thoughts - not only to loved ones, but to the whole of humanity. And by reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas we might just help bring the Spirit of Christmas to life and make it last a little longer than 24 hours.

new age spirituality is compiled by abracad