If we look at Christmas traditions around the world, however different they may be, there are a few key elements that are universal. Christmas is all about family: it is the season of sharing, caring and giving, of love, compassion and family bonding. All of us should take this opportunity to spend time with our families and make the most of our relationships with others.
Christmas is ideal to teach children about values such as love, compassion, generosity and kindness, which are absolutely essential for a well-functioning society. The family celebration with its traditions and rituals reinforces familial ties, thus creating a sense of belonging.
Peace, joy and love – these concepts capture the true meaning of Christmas.
The holidays are also a time to reflect on what is important to us. Spending time with the people that mean the most to us brings joy, and a sense of peace and security. Gift-giving and donating to charity are also an integral part of Christmas: We think of others, and how to bring them happiness, a sentiment that often falls short in our busy day-to-day lives.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
This phrase of biblical origin is an appeal to generosity and recalls the value of altruism – that we should try to be less selfish and think more of others. Even though we live in an “elbow society” that fosters rude competition and a lack of social conscience, so everyone is primarily concerned with their own well-being – everyone who has ever given to others or helped them in any way knows: Giving really is better than receiving.
Helping others will make you happy as well. As the Dalai Lama observes, happiness does not come from material things but rather from a genuine concern for the happiness of others. As a positive side effect, helping and giving to others is beneficial to your health.
For humanity, charity, lending a helping hand where help is needed – all of this creates a deep feeling of contentment. And more importantly, it also creates ties and understanding between people, building bridges and breaking down prejudices. Without these ties, without compassion, love and charity, a society cannot survive in the long run.
Christmas is the celebration of love.
Hence, the Christmas story is there to remind us year after year that Christmas is the celebration of love, granted to every human being regardless of origin or skin colour. Even after 2000 years, this message has lost nothing of its relevance. It may give you hope to greet the coming year with optimism and to actively consider how you can make a difference and do good. Starting with the people who are closest to you.
And on that note: Make the most of the time you have with your family this Christmas and enjoy the cosy atmosphere created by the Christmas lights.
May your holiday be filled with laughter, love and joy! Merry Christmas to you all!