christmas tree
Reflections

The Beauty of Christmas

Christmas time was beautiful in my childhood, not because of the presents and the family coming together, but because there was always this feeling of peace inside me. The beauty of Christmas for me as a child was having a long time at home watching fairy tales, eating lots of sweets, and the magic of the lights in the living room while outside we experienced cold and snowy days.

As a child, I witnessed many fights between my parents because my grandparents have visited us nearly every Christmas, and they presented themselves as quite dominant. The atmosphere forced me to seek my own inner peaceful space. However, the memories of the lights, the real candles, and the smell of baked apples with cinnamon and oranges have been the connection to Christmas for me for years, as well as the fairytale movies. 🙂

The Lights of Christmas

The Beauty of Christmas
Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels

I love Christmas time! It is a pity that we don’t have snow anymore around Christmas, even not around New Year’s Eve. If we get snow, it is mainly in February and March, and only for some days. Most time, snow is gone the very day it snows. But if I think back into my childhood, snow was no rarity, and I loved to observe the snowflakes in the warm cozy house. Everything seemed peaceful until my grandmother came, and they usually fought about the dinner that happened. My grandmother decided what we ate, even my mother and we children didn’t like the meal. So my mother was forced to make something different for us and was bound to the kitchen much during the day. I remember very well.

There was a time where I worked every Christmas as a nurse while avoiding going home to see my family. I instead asked for my days off on New Year’s Eve and Day to celebrate with my friends.

When you are a child, you remember the haven and the beautiful things that have given you peace. The tree with the lights and the fairy tales on television gave me happiness and helped me escape the tension. We went for a walk in the afternoons in the snow and had coffee when we came home.

snowy forest
Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

Christmas at that time was a peaceful happening, because there were no shops open, and you didn’t go to a restaurant for your meals. Socializing was normal, my aunts and uncles came to visit, or we visited them. However, we lived in another city in my childhood than the rest of the family and didn’t see any other members, only my father’s parents, for some years.

Nowadays, I drive to my mother to spend Christmas with her, or she visits us. Because of Corona, we couldn’t spend last Christmas with her. I still love the lights; even I don’t use so many. We never have a Christmas tree in our house since I believe in Jesus.

If you have children, it is entirely different. I understand that children love the Christmas tree and the presents under the tree. They still wait for Santa Claus to come with Rudolph, such exciting days for small children.

However, I still watch fairy tales even though I have often seen them and grown-up. The atmosphere I try to remember and what has given me a peaceful feeling was so beautiful as a child. Christmas is not the same anymore as I have experienced as a child, but that doesn’t take the excitement away.

Do You Need Presents?

christmas presents
Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

I know Christmas without presents is unthinkable. As a child, we are excited to get gifts from Santa Claus, and all day long, we wait in excitement for the time we are allowed to enter the living room and search for the presents. Later on, as adults, it is not that important anymore. We don’t make Christmas presents for another, but we love to sit together and chat away. The magic of Christmas is not the same as we experience as small children.

For my husband and me, the celebration of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, who came in the flesh onto Earth to save sinful humanity. We only let the others do their rituals, like my mother, who still tries to celebrate Christmas the way she is used to. But, for example, last year, we couldn’t visit my mother due to the Covid lockdowns, and then we celebrated our Christmas. We don’t give presents! It has become crazy what people nowadays wish for Christmas and birthdays.

If someone wants to give presents, I think a small gift is enough. Most people have too much anyway. And why do must the youth get smartphones and computer stuff as presents? I think they first need to work for purchasing their things, so they know the value of the products. Giving expensive gifts spoils them and is not good for forming a healthy character. Many young people haven’t learned to empathize with others but are egoistic and socially unable to connect. They feel that they are entitled to everything without participating in, for example, working for something. Indeed, it hasn’t been a good development for some decades.

Children need to learn that everything has value and that we are not automatically inclined to receive something. Why not make beautiful handmade articles from sustainable waste or buy something in a secondhand shop and renew it with some paint and other materials? A child can learn how precious it is to make something new or refurbish a product. Nowadays, we have so much waste on Earth that we should better stop producing new stuff in our Western culture but renew it. It is much fun, and the items look new, but also like art when finished. I feel contentment when I have refurbished something, and it looks so good.

woman making own products for christmas
Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels

However, most people have everything already. Why not sit together, have a great dinner, sing Christmas songs, and socialize? Socializing is so much more worth than receiving presents, at least in my eyes.

I have always enjoyed singing with my aunts and uncles; sitting together, laughing, and talking has filled me inside with such peace and joy. It is a pity that Christmas has changed so much.

Sustainable Traditional Christmas

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, and we go to church, meeting sisters and brothers to celebrate the joyful event together. A Christmas tree is a pagan ritual, as well as the lights. In many churches nowadays, you will also find Christmas trees and the light. Jesus has come as light into our world, a savior of humankind. We celebrate Jesus’birth every year as Christians, while other people in our so-called Christian culture celebrate the lights, good foods, and presents. In many western countries, people dress up in black and glittery clothes when having dinner. The Christmas tree is very often artificial, made from plastic, maybe better than cutting so many trees just for Christmas and throwing them away at the beginning of January.

There are still people going to church at midnight or in the evening, but it is often a senseless tradition without a meaning. It depends on the culture. The Catholic culture still celebrates the birth of the Lord Jesus; they have a crib. Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus, the animals, a stable, and the three holy kings offering many presents to the newborn king may be why people give gifts to family members and friends.

It is our culture, and I think we should keep our culture alive; even there are already many other cultures in western countries, we appreciate and respect them very much. People coming to a Christian nation should respect the traditions because they have come to these countries, and most immigrants respect our traditions.

It also applies to a Buddhistic or other religion-based culture. However, if I emigrate to a Muslim country, I have to respect their culture because I have immigrated with the knowledge of being a guest and a citizen of that country. And if I receive social benefits from the land, I have to be quiet but thankful for the support and first integrate as a citizen before asking for anything.

Christmas belongs to our Christian society like Easter and Pentecost because we are still a Christian-based nation. Many politicians want to get rid of the Christian holidays. However, Christmas symbolizes the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and belongs to our culture.

The Beauty of Christmas

christmas lights in a town
Photo by Lisa from Pexels

I believe the beauty of Christmas is for everyone different. Many people are having a stressful time before Christmas, and during Christmas, they have arguments with other family members, which destroys the peace. I know people going on holiday to experience Christmas in the snow. Here in the Netherlands, we don’t get snow on Christmas, but of course, there can always be a year where it snows. I love snow on Christmas; it is so romantic. The forecast said we would get snow, but reality shows no snow.

I couldn’t write for more than a week because I caught the flu, so Christmas is over, and I can clearly say that we had no snow but beautiful sunny frozen days. Even knocked down by the flu, I tried to take some steps in the fresh air because my immune system needed support.:) Fantastic weather for the immunity!

For me, Christmas is still a beautiful time of social bonding, peaceful days of recharging body and mind, and certainly spiritually being connected with my Lord Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. The sunny days full of light are already strengthening our whole being. A winter picture always seems to catch a peaceful moment. I can’t even imagine how it must be to celebrate Christmas in summer, with a swimming pool and barbeque, as they do, for example in Australia and New Zealand. For me, it seems to be so weird, but of course, I might be getting used to it. Living in the tropical world means the same for people, Christmas in a warm climate zone.

Maybe worth experiencing one day.:)

Final Thought

The beauty of Christmas is undoubtedly for every person different. I believe it is what we have been printed on our minds, the memories from our childhood. If we have been grown up in an intact family, we certainly have a beautiful memory buried in our hearts that gets activated every Christmas. For me coming from the Northern hemisphere of the world, Christmas is connected to a cold and snowy time where we spend quality time with our family, hopeful, peaceful days with good meals and lights and chats. Since I became a firm believer, my Christmas has been strongly connected with the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

How do you celebrate Christmas? Do you celebrate it, or are you coming from another religion where you don’t have anything to do with Christmas? I would love to hear from you about how you spend these days, where you are coming from, and your experiences! Does the beauty of Christmas also sing a song in your heart?

All the Best,

Sylvie

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