Just yesterday we celebrated Christmas. Some celebrated it with huge pomp and show, others privately. Christians flocked in Churches, singing Christmas carols and participating in the ritual. Yes, there is a festive atmosphere and Christmas to many means waking up with snow falling outside, going down to open gifts placed under the Christmas tree. It is a popular belief by the children that Santa comes down the snow-capped mountains and enters their house through the chimney bringing gifts for them, which they get when they wake up. Although it transports children to a world of dreams, my only concern is how healthy it is for kids to believe in such fiction. Slowly, as they grow up, their world of dreams is shattered and for many children, it takes a while to cope up with reality. I am not only talking about the fiction surrounding Santa Claus but all concepts of fantasy instilled in kids during childhood. But here, in this article, I am talking about Christmas.
“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine,
Children singing Christian rhymes…..”
Yes, children are taught many Christmas songs to create in them a mood of celebration. While some popular Christmas carols makes them a better person, like-
“Rudolph the red nose reindeer, had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows,
All of the other reindeers, used to laugh and call him names,
They never let poor Rudolph, join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
This carol teaches children to accept all their peers irrespective of how different they are from them. They are taught to celebrate with the kids who are poor. The virtues of loving and giving are taught during this festival. For Christians, this occasion is special. It is a time for family bonding and exchange of gifts. As a kid, going to a Catholic school, every year there was an enactment on stage of the life and teachings of Jesus. Thus as kids, we understood the real essence of Christmas and not just consider the occasion to be one of giving and receiving gifts only.
Any religion essentially makes individuals a better person. They learn to have faith in goodness, in the victory of truth over evils, they learn to love other humans and treat them with dignity. As Christmas is being celebrated over ages, many beautiful stories are associated with it. Take for example, The Gift of the Magi by O Henry. A couple gift each other presents by sacrificing the most precious thing they have. Due to their love for each other and their sacrifice for the sake of each other, their gift has been compared to that of the Magi who were wise men who gifted Jesus on His birth. Then there is the story of The Cop and the Anthem. A man on the streets who tried every means to get arrested to escape from the winter but failed, undergoes transformation of heart on hearing the Church bells ringing and he decides to reform his life. Just then, he gets arrested by a cop who gets suspicious on seeing him loitering around the streets at night. Thus these beautiful tales associated with Christmas have moral values. This is what religion does to man. It makes them a better person.
Any festival is a time to rejoice together. People of all caste, creed and religion come together for celebrations. Christmas propagates universal brotherhood. It is also a time to forgive, forget and have a fresh start. However, today when people are slaughtering each other in the name of religion, questions are raised as to whether there should be any religion or not. True, there is chaos and anarchy even when one follows religion. But such turmoil will increase manifolds in the absence of religion. Only due to the presence of religion, there is still some goodness and good people on the earth. For me, this is the real essence of all religions and celebrating festivals based on religious beliefs.