Let us spread love, goodwill and peace in the true Christmas spirit

Jesus Christ, our Lord was born today

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 25, 2022

Christmas, like many other festivals celebrated by ethnic groups such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims, has become a celebration with catholicity (could not resist using that expression), widely marked by almost all residents.

The fact that New Zealand has grown to accept Diwali, Lantern and other festivals with the participation of European, Maori and Pacific Islander segments, is indicative of the growing cohesion and integration in the society.

Christmas festivities began with the Santa Parade on Queen Street in Auckland’s central business district on November 27, 2022. Thousands of men, women and children watched Santa Claus at his best.

Similar parades were held in other parts of the country leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ

Our dear friend and columnist, the late Wenceslaus Antony, said in an article that he wrote in the Christmas and New Year Special of Indian Newslink, December 15, 2009: “We celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, the outpouring of God’s love in great abundance into each of our hearts.

It is God’s love for you and me: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (John 3:16).

Christmas is therefore a reminder of God’s love for us.”

What does God’s Love mean to us? In today’s context, it is time for self-introspection in the light of this Love.

He said that poor self-esteem is a common problem affecting many individuals in every stratum of every society. The hurt and bruises inflicted on hearts and minds lead many to believe that they are worthless and are of no value to anyone.

As members of a wider community, we need to reflect on this issue.

He asked, “What can we do to bring God’s Love into the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters who feel unloved and worthless?”

St Francis de Sales a very wise, loving and spiritual guide (and a 16th Century Roman Catholic Saint and Bishop of Geneva) said, “You learn to Love by loving,”

“Hence, the journey of Love begins with each one of us loving one other. Many people radiate Love through their speech, action and even appearance. God’s Love is constantly pouring abundantly into our hearts and we in turn need to pass this love on to others. The journey of Love continues when we accept it is God who provides us with blessings more than what we deserve. When we accept that every blessing comes from God, then we have the inner desire to share and give freely to those who are in need,” he said.

Jesus Christ, our Saviour

Jesus Christ Himself said: “You received freely; give freely.” (Mt. 10:8)

When we start loving and sharing the blessings, we create an environment in which Love abounds and life thrives. That is what Christmas should mean to each of us.

Whoever we are, whatever we do, and wherever we live, all of us need to realise that all of us are precious in the eyes of God.

The significance of December 25

Have you ever wondered why December 25 is regarded as ‘Christmas Day?’

Many Roman Catholics would like to point to Pope Liberius, who decreed in 354 AD Christmas be celebrated on December 25.

But some historians believe it was the Roman Emperor, Constantine who declared so in 336 AD.

The significance of December 25

Why December 25?

That day was already observed as a heathen holiday and as ‘The feast of Saturn, Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.’

This pagan feast began two weeks of festivities including feasting, drinking, abstention from work, special musical presentation and the exchanging of gifts.

Constantine was the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire.

As a result of a vision of the Cross inscribed within hoc signo vinces (‘By this emblem shalt thou conquer’) in 312 AD, he proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of the Empire.

It is said he even ordered his army to ride horses through rivers to ‘baptise’ them into Christianity.

It was Constantine’s desire to ‘Christianise’ December 25 so that people would not have to lose a holiday and could honour Christ, the Light of The World instead of the Pagan Gods Saturn and the Sun.

Thousands watched Farmers Santa Parade on Queen Street, Auckland CBD, November 27, 2022 (Website Picture)

Some unsettling factors

Somehow, Year 2022 seems different to many of us.

The uncertainties caused by the persistent Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, the resultant spiralling costs of essential commodities including fuel and the fear of economic recession are all factors that bother common people. In New Zealand, these are compounded by the public perception of safety and security.

Global warming may pose a long-term risk. The ageing of the population in New Zealand, a major market for Santa could be a matter of worry. Even if it means relatively fewer children, whether naughty or nice, it may also mean more indulgent grandparents.

But let us concentrate on the festivities from today.

The Johnsonville Charitable Trust Santa Parade, Wellington on December 3, 2022 (Website Picture)

A Father figure of dignity

To millions of people around the world, Santa signifies grace, dignity, honour and most important of all, the father figure.

Such is the popularity of the man that he occupies most display windows, personalised executive sleigh and more.

Christmas is now the biggest-spending item in most western countries after health care and defence. The logistics of that success require Santa to be in thousands of malls by day and down millions of chimneys by night.

It is generally believed that he relies on a series of proprietary algorithms derived from Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which allows him to be in an infinite number of places simultaneously so long as nobody believes he is really in any one of them.

Of course, Christmas has to grapple with the fundamental uncertainties affecting all modern industries. They include globalisation, the spread of the internet and the pervasive power of shopping malls.

All of these seem to be working, for the moment at least, in Christmas’s favour.

Greetings from Us

Christmas is a time to give, love and promote goodwill and understanding. In the Western world including New Zealand, it is the beginning of the holiday season. Millions of New Zealanders, irrespective of their otherwise religious and social beliefs, would mark the occasion with gaiety and fun. Christians would of course observe the birth of Christ with piety as well. As streets and buildings wear a colourful look with decorations and lights, it would inaugurate a new era of hope; with hopes comes a positive attitude and with a positive attitude comes the urge to work, which in turn begets prosperity.

We offer our choicest greetings to our advertisers, readers, contributors and well-wishers and wish them Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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