The magic of Christmas is not in the presents,
but in His presence.
Quotography’s prompt this week is mass. Not being Catholic, the term is a bit foreign to me but I believe its interpretation in today’s culture can be interchanged with a couple of different synonyms.
Celebration of the Eucharist or Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper
A gathering together of Christians for the purpose of worship
Without getting really heavy into semantics, I’m adapting the prompt to be an interpretation of the meaning of that December holiday called Christmas.
Christmas = literally translated to mean Christ’s mass
Christmas is the celebration of the miraculous birth of God’s son, Jesus. The day when God Incarnate came to this world in the most humble, helpless form of a human baby. He was to be raised by earthly parents and experience, first hand, what is means to be human. He was to experience all the pain, suffering and sadness that goes along with our broken world. It is God’s act of pure love that sent Jesus to a dark, sinful, lost world to reconcile humankind back to their creator through the ultimate sacrifice….crucifixion, death and resurrection. A sacrifice Christians observe regularly through the Eucharist/Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel….For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)
That’s it. That’s all. Did this happen in the dead of winter on December 25th with snow falling softly against the sky? No. Was there mistletoe and holly garlands? No. Was there gift giving? No. Was there huge celebratory get-togethers? No.
There were, however, scared human parents giving birth to their first child a long ways from home in a room that stabled animals. There were angels appearing on the hillsides announcing the birth…not to the upper class of people in the town and synagogue, but to the most lowly people of that period’s class system…shepherds. There were no grand Christmas trees, decorations or lavish gifts. His presence was the only present for miles around and went largely unnoticed by most people.
This is a present Christians celebrate every year. And we celebrate it alongside a host of traditions that date back to the cultures of the Druids, German and Celtic tribes, Roman mythology and Teutonic nature worship. The bible never mentions the exact month or day of Jesus’ birth. In the 5th century, the Western Church selected a day for the event to be commemorated….coinciding with the Roman feast of the birth of Sol (sun god). It also coincided with the Winter Solstice, an important time of the year for many pagan religions. Coincidence. Not hardly. People of all color, creeds and nationalities combined all these customs and traditions into what we celebrate now as Christmas.
Whether you celebrate Christmas as Christ’s Mass or simply as a winter holiday, perhaps the Grinch said it best.
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Playing along with Quotography and Life Thru the Lens