With the dawn of the Romantic Period of over 200 years ago, the way we celebrate Christmas stands in stark contrast to the Middle Ages and certainly before. In the early 1800’s, with the advent of the play “A Christmas Carol” and the joyful season versus Scrooge, the way we adorn and decorate today is the norm.
At the time of the industrial revolution, the darkness and dirt, as well as, the poverty of the day forbode a dingy and hopeless scenario. As industry progressed, so did the devaluing of human life, particularly for children. To support a family and achieve the basics of life was often beyond the reach of many and a terrible struggle for most.
Into this picture came a clarion call by Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, suggesting that the truth and dignity of the Incarnation (Christmas) can be a great solution to darkness and sorrow. The day doesn’t rule us, we rule the day. Darkness gives way to light, doubt to hope, and sadness to joy. Since those days, a brighter understanding has overpowered the dank and dinginess of the past. For nearly two centuries our sense of optimism, a firm hope in the promises of God, and a world brighten by the lights and charity of Christmas now prevail.
We can’t abdicate our responsibilities to show Christmas as more than a material enterprise. We need to be bold and courageous in living, giving and decorating as if Christmas matters. We don’t surrender to the hopelessness of past darknesses. We trust in God, believing that He loved us enough to come to Earth and redeem us. God’s brightness and our hope in it can change the world. Saying “Merry Christmas” and “God bless you” are the consequence of strong Faith. We are not tempered by culture, we temper it, without fear and with complete trust and hope in God. This Faith, this Light will always dispel darkness.
So, give thanks to God for taking on human flesh. Jesus Christ is the reason for this season. All the rest is fine, as long as Christ, the Manger and Faith are always at the heart of what we do.
God bless you and Merry Christmas!