So, this is Christmas!
The year 2017 has been on a roller coaster ride, where the ordinary folk on it have been screaming each time there was a bump on the ride, while a few selected privileged ones have been throwing their hands up and enjoying the ride. At the end of yet another year, there comes Christmas, either to celebrate or follow Jesus Christ's advice, which is 'not to concentrate only on amassing wealth, but to understand that all evil things come from within the man's heart to defile him, unless the heart is pure and the mind is cleansed' (Mark 7:21-23).
On this special day of Christmas, everyone, particularly the Christians, should reflect on the concerns what Jesus Christ really expected of man. It is a travesty to see how Christmas has been allowed to transform into a high-priced occasion, where both religion and man have been engrossed, possessed, and conditioned by commerce. Christmas, of course, comes but once a year, where mortals declare year on year, especially during mid-night Christmas Mass, never to get bogged down in commercial hype that has become like a contagious disease during this 'festive' season. This becomes evidently clear with the congested traffic on the roads, despite schoolchildren enjoying their break, and supermarkets becoming chockablock with crowds, as if the world is going to end! This merriment is not confined only to Christians, but people of all faiths, who automatically get sucked into this celebration.
In London, for example, Christmas is celebrated in style, where every household, irrespective of their religious faith, gets into the festive mood with decorations and a compulsory Christmas tree adorned with tinsels, beginning December and lasting seven days after the Christmas. Another 'show-off' is to display the number of Christmas cards one receives, as a means of exhibiting their circle of friends! Parents, with small children, begin to act like babies by playing alongside kids on Christmas day. Streets, especially the Oxford Street, the international shopping hub, gets illuminated with scores of electric bulbs, akin to Vesak celebrations in Sri Lanka, spreading its splendour.
Christmas day was universally accepted by the end of 4th century. Ever since, young children have been conditioned to believe in the ' jolly old man', called Father Christmas, with white whiskers, wearing a red robe, and a large sack containing gifts, visiting at midnight through the roof or chimney. The term 'Father Christmas' has originated from St. Nicholas, the Patron Saint of schoolchildren and sail centuries, after the death of Jesus. During the 17th century, Dutch Protestant settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) replaced St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas) with the generous magician called Santa Claus.
During this commercial hype, businessmen concentrate on electronic contraptions and greeting cards, to boost their economy. Women, who are concerned with their curves and sagging muscles, become ready to say to 'hell with it' and binge. At no other time during the year, hypocrisy is so rampant, when people buy presents and send Christmas cards; even to immediate neighbours they see day in and out, throughout the year.
Sir Henry and John Horsley designed the first Christmas card that had three panels, the outer two panels displayed people caring for the poor, and in the centre with a family enjoying a Christmas lunch. Modern methods of pictures, jokes or romantic scenes of life have superseded this tradition. Today entrepreneurs produce millions of Christmas cards by which their revenue too increases proportionately. Felling down of Christmas trees, each year for the production of Christmas cards and decorations, does irreparable harm to the environment. Mince pie is regarded as a part of the British culture for hundreds of years with Christmas lunch. It is recorded already that over £4 million (Rs. 800,000,000) worth of mince pies, along with £1M (Rs 200,000,000) million Christmas puddings have sold so far for 2017 Christmas in the UK.
Jesus, born as an ordinary man, led a simple life by travelling without paying any heed to accumulating wealth. Despite his teachings of kindness and forbearance, what we see today, as the world advances, is humans being taken over by evil forces. This indicates a positively chaotic condition, and probably heading towards the World War III, considering how the Americans and Israelis on one side, and North Korea on the other, clash over Jerusalem and nuclear weapons respectively, to light the torch of disaster, which simply boils down to thinning out the mist on war front in the horizon.
Due to man's unreliable behaviour, natural disasters such as temperatures getting into sub-zero levels, earthquakes, floods and unimaginable droughts and tsunamis are becoming a common occurrence; big cities such as Los Angeles, have begun to burn like hell fire, which are all indicators to world leaders and rulers as a dire warning.
If one were to examine and celebrate Jesus Christ's 'birthday,' under the spiritual microscope, then one should be able to identify one's weaknesses and learn to be 'reborn' with new resolutions of becoming a better individual. Christ demonstrated how to be tolerant, even during his traumatic moments on the cross by loving and forgiving the very people who sentenced him to death. Therefore, enjoyment during Christmas should not be to make it a commercial fun-fare or kill pigs and disembowel chicken, but to decorate people's hearts with love, compassion and human feeling for one another, by which at least we, as human beings, might be able to ward off some of the worst impending disasters that are predicted to affect the world in the near future.