What Does Christmas Mean in 2013?

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With Christmas just around the corner it is easy to get caught up with the excitement of Christmas presents and the anticipation of Christmas dinners to be eaten, and even easier to forget those principles that Christmas as we know it, was founded on; peace, love, generosity and joy.

Year on year it seems we become more selective on the meanings of these words, moulding them to fit our own desires, understanding joy as the pleasure of eating, generosity to mean over-indulging your nearest and dearest and peace to be the result of having a few nights of uninterrupted sleep. When in actual fact, Christmas is about a lot more than personal happiness and gain. It’s about unity, forgiveness and, most of all, selflessness.

Recently I finished reading Dickens’ much loved and much adapted classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’, and the message inside, although old, was clear; enjoy Christmas and embrace all aspects of it. Be kind, polite and friendly to everyone. Give what you can to those that most need and deserve it and love not only those you are close to but those you have cause not to be. Be selfless, be joyful, be merry. But despite the countless reproductions of Scrooge’s enlightenment the story’s fundamental message is being forgotten, or worse ignored. In fact it seems that we have re-branded Christmas, transforming generosity into greed, joy into jealousy and peace into impatience, whilst keeping the same label to kid ourselves that the whole charade is not a disgusting display of gluttony and selfishness. Christmas is now as much a cultural holiday, as it is a religious one with members of all faiths, or indeed no faith at all, celebrating it alike. But with this shift something has been lost in translation, the loving essence of Christmas, the part that made it so special to us in years gone by, has been diluted and I, for one, want it back. With three days left to go until the big day there is still time to embrace the beauty of Christmas. Be that visiting an elderly neighbour, giving to a local food bank, tipping that over-worked waiter or simply remembering that your personal Christmas festivities are not the only things that matter at this time of year and retaining politeness, kindness and patience.

 If you fancy giving a good deed a go, here’s some inspiration;

  • Find a Local Food Bank.

http://www.trusselltrust.org/map

  • Give someone a Christmas to remember.

http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/Christmas-Appeal-2013

  • Help a homeless person

http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/volunteering-at-crisis-christmas.html

  • Make a Community Christmas possible for those who would otherwise spend the festive period alone

http://communitychristmas.org.uk/get-involved/

  • Missed the last post-date for Christmas? Why not send an E-card and donate to Great Ormond Street at the same time

http://shop.gosh.org/catalogue/christmas/great-ormond-street-hospital-e-cards

And have a very Happy Christmas!

 

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