Re:Caroling and Use of Intoxicants
- A number of postings have been seen in this forum about the celebration of Christmas. Undoubtedly, for Christians, this festival should be the celebration of Christ's (our Lord's) birthday. It is said that this festival actually used to be celebrated on different days in various Christian traditions. It should not be the date that is significant; but that the celebration is the thankful remembrance of God taking our mortal human form for our salvation: IMMANUEL-GOD WITH US. The word Christmas itself is said to have originated in 1038 AD, and it literally means "Christ's Mass". The emphasis here is on holiness, thanksgiving and worship rather than exuberance.
The present practice of celebrating Christmas on December 25 itself has a somewhat pagan connection. Romans used to celebrate on Dec. 25 the return of their Sun god from his farthest position in the South. This day (according to them) signaled the "rebirth" of Sun god, and also the official beginning of the waning of the gloomy cold winter season. Around the middle of the 4th century, probably as a result of Emperor Constantine's adoption and support of Christianity in the Roman Empire, the Roman winter festival of Dec. 25 for their Sun god is said to have combined with the Christian celebration of Christ's birthday.
Christmas has now become associated with Christmas tree, Santa Clause, Caroling, Partying, Gift-giving, and so on. Sadly, it seems that much of the "holiness" is now gone from the celebration of Christmas. It is also worth to note here that Orthodox Lectionaries use words such as "Nativity", "Theophany", "jananaperunal", and not "Christmas", for this festival day. Just some thoughts.
St. Mary's Malankara Orthodox Church
Wesley Chapel, Florida