It’s that time of year again when many of us prepare to celebrate Christmas. Traditionally, for Christians, it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago. However, Christmas has become an important time for celebrating with family and friends for both Christians and non-Christians. Let’s have a look at some of the ways we observe Christmas:
For over 2,000 years, Christians have celebrated the arrival on earth of a very remarkable person: Jesus of Nazareth. We know a lot about Jesus because of widespread writings, not just from his followers, but also from well-known scribes of the time. Jesus was a historically real person. His teachings of love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance appealed to all kinds of people as well as his message of hope for a new life after we pass on from this one. He practised what he preached, being kind and non-judgmental. You could say that he was, and is, the perfect role model.
Christians attend Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. They listen to readings about the special night when Jesus was born, pray together and sing Christmas Hymns. (My favourite is ‘O! Holy Night.’) It’s a very happy occasion!
Giving presents, decorating Christmas trees and homes is also traditional for many. Children in particular love all this Christmas activity and get very excited at the thought of a visit from Santa.
Presents are opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or at a party beforehand. Many workplaces have parties and some, like mine, organize a ‘Secret Santa’. We pick the name of a colleague out of a hat and buy a gift for that person. No-one knows who has provided their present. It’s lots of fun! Not everyone is a Christian but that doesn’t matter. It’s the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ that is important: a feeling of goodwill towards everyone.
In Australia, as in many western and European countries, this is an occasion for being with family, especially family whom we don’t see regularly. We get together and tend to eat and drink too much! It’s a busy time, when we acknowledge the importance of family.
If you would like to join in the Christmas festivities and you don’t have a family or friends to celebrate Christmas with, I strongly recommend that you contact a Christian church nearby; for example, The Catholic Church, The Anglican Church, The Pentecostal Church, The Presbyterian Church, The Methodist Church, or The Salvation Army. They welcome everyone, provide a lovely Christmas dinner and a jolly experience and expect nothing from you. You don’t need to be a Christian. You don’t have to attend a church service and you just might make some friends! Alternatively, church services can be viewed online. Just open You Tube and search: ‘Christmas Mass’. It is streamed live on Christmas Day and on Christmas Eve.
Australian Christmas is different to Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere where it is cold in December. Here, it is summer and while some households still enjoy roast turkey, hot vegetables, and hot Christmas pudding, many of us prefer cold meat, seafood and salads and cold or fruit-based desserts. Pavlova, cheesecake, and ice cream pudding are favourites.
Because it is very hot here, barbecues are very popular which means that cooking indoors is unnecessary. After lunch, the beach is popular for those fortunate enough to live near one or holiday at one. Summer in Australia is holiday season, especially for school children and their families, and Christmas lunch or dinner is often casual: delicious and special, but simple. The beach is calling!
I hope you have a
Very Merry Christmas & a
Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2020!!