A little bit of history...
Christmas is an occasion many people around the world celebrate, but with all the preparations and the commercialism surrounding this year-end holiday, have we really forgotten the true meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is a time to be enjoyed. It is the time to be with family and close friends. It is a celebration of the birth of the Messiah. Christmas usually means peace and hope. But with all the stress that many people have to go through during the Christmas season, it could be a test of endurance.
Why all the stress?
Today, when time is of the utmost essence, procrastination sets in. Even when you plan to be done with your Christmas shopping early, you always end up with rushing to buy all the Christmas presents one week before the occasion. There's also the rush of getting everything wrapped and other gifts shipped. You might also be one of those people who intend to send Christmas cards to friends in distant locations yet the cards remain unsent, left on the desk because there was simply no time to post them.
Celebrating Christmas used to be such a simple joy. You plan a special meal, go to mass to give thanks and share the blessings that you have received with family and the less fortunate. Many years back, you can buy any gift, and it will be wholly appreciated. Now you have to be very careful and choosy about the gifts you buy. Things for the very young are still easy to find. Some things that are colorful and cute will still do. As the recipients get older, the more difficult it is to look for gifts. They have to be trendy, mostly tech-related and oftentimes expensive.
Not only that. You have to know the taste and preference of the person who will be receiving your gift, so you do not get labeled as a terrible gift-giver. You have to remember what you gave them last year, and which ones were appreciated and which ones were returned, recycled or stored in their original wrapper, never to be seen again.
Message of hope, thanks and cheer
So for most people, especially the younger generation, Christmas is a way to get new toys, expensive gadgets and in some cases, extra cash. It seems that the essence of Christmas and the magical feeling it brings are already lost.
Yet, for many more people around the world, Christmas still retains the same magic as before, albeit to a lesser degree. They still look forward to spending time with their families and for giving gifts, which, no matter how small and trivial will still be treasured. It is still that time of year, and often the only time of the year that some people could give back to the community. Christmas remains to be that time of year when even the worst of enemies prefer to be at peace.
Most people still believe that Christmas means hope, not hopelessness. Christmas means that there is a chance for peace to reign and that people will survive.
Let us all be thankful for the bountiful blessings we have received this year, and although we cannot give each and every one a gift, we can say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" in many languages, as follows:
Swahili (Krismasi Njema / Heri ya krismas)
Zulu (UKhisimusi omuhle)
Afrikaans (Geseënde Kersfees)
Basque (Eguberri on)
Cherokee (Ulihelisdi danisdayohihvi)
Chinese (Shèng dàn kuài lè)
Corsican (Bon Natale)
Dutch (Vrolijk Kerstfeest)
Catalan (Bon Nadal)
Croatian (Sretan Božić)
Czech (Veselé Vánoce)
Estonian (Häid jõule)
Faroese (Gleðilig jól)
Filipino (Maligayang Pasko)
Finnish (Hyvää joulua)
French (Joyeux Noël)
German (Frohe Weihnachten / fröhliche Weihnachten)
Hawaiian (Mele Kalikimaka)
Hebrew (Hag molad saméa'h)
Hindi (Krismas ki subhkamna)
Hungarian (Boldog karácsonyt)
Indonesian (Selamat Natal)
Irish (gaelic Nollaig shona)
Italian (Buon Natale)
Javanese (Sugeng Natal)
Japanese (Merii kurisumasu)
Lao (Souksan van Christmas)
Korean (Jeul-kkeo-un keu-ri-sseu-ma-sseu)
Malay (Selamat hari natal)
Malayalam (Christmas ashamshagal)
Maori (Meri Kirihimete)
Norwegian (God jul)
Polish (Wesołych świąt bożego Narodzenia)
Portuguese (Feliz Natal)
Russian (S rozhdestvom Khristovym)
Scottish (Gaelic Nollaig chridheil)
Spanish (Feliz Navidad)
Tamil (Krismas dina nal vaagethoukkal)
Telugu (Krismas shubhakankshalu)
Thai (Souksaan wan Christmas)
Tongan (Mele Kilisimasi)
Turkish (Noeliniz kutlu olsun)
Vietnamese (Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh)
Merry Christmas every one!