If Puritan Oliver Cromwell had his way back in 1644, there would be no Christmas celebrations today, no exchanging of gifts and no singing of carols.
It was in that year in fact, that Cromwell enforced an Act of Parliament, banning Christmas celebrations that posed a threat to Christian beliefs. To Cromwell, Christmas was a time for reflection and prayer, not a time to party.
It would be many years before the law would be abolished and the British could resume participating in celebrating Christmas.
What if the law had not been abolished and were still in effect today? Would we even celebrate with our families, give gifts, share meals, and rejoice amongst ourselves?
And how many of us would know and understand the true meaning of Christmas without the annual festivities? It is through the setting up of the Christmas tree, the school Christmas pageants and the sharing of gifts that we can help others learn about the true meaning of Christmas.
It has nothing to do with the hours spent in long queues at the mall trying to get the best deal and it is not about going into debt to make sure your kids have the latest and greatest in video games.
It is the act of giving without any expectations that matters. It doesn’t have to be a store-bought gift either.
It could be a hand-crafted item made with lots of thought and care. It could be giving of one’s time to help another.
Christmas is also often the only time many loved ones can connect with their family as the daily grind throughout the year keeps them apart. Christmas gives them the reason and the opportunity to spend valuable time together. If there was no Christmas, how much time would pass before some would visit with family members?
Cromwell had it wrong. Celebrating Christmas has not ruined anything. Rather, it has allowed traditions and values to carry on through the generations and throughout time. In many ways, Christmas has become too commercial, but families still rejoice, celebrate, and yes, reflect.
Enjoy your time with loved ones this Holiday season engaging in traditions and festivities that may only happen once a year.