In a world that is apparently becoming less and less religious, why is Christmas still so popular?
I personally know people from all religious faiths and philosophical persuasions (even some that are opposed to Christianity) who take part in the celebration aspect of it (though often not the religious aspect).
Yes, there is a certain amount of momentum built up behind this festival so that you can't help being swept up in it to some extent, but is there something more behind the popularity of Christmas?
So what do you think...Why is Christmas so popular?
I have my own (perhaps surprising) metaphysically-based explanation for this which
I can't help but be reminded of the conversation Abraham had with a parent who struggled with the notion of telling her daughter the truth about Santa Claus. Abraham's answer involves fairies!
I can remember a couple of years ago when my wife brought home a box of outdoor Christmas lights (the ones that hang down like icicles), and asked me to hang them up outside. Well, I was not into it. I can remember thinking what a chore it was, how difficult it was to put in all of the needed staples to hang them, and how cold it was outside.
But life has been pretty good to me, and I have since rediscovered my spiritual self, to a degree. This year, I put up the same lights again, and it seemed effortless. In fact, I sent my wife to the store for another box of the icicle lights, because they didn't reach all the way around the house! (each strand has 150 lights and there will be six strands for a total of 900 lights)
There are several people in my workplace who will get gifts from me this year, just because I can; I have been blessed this year with a modest degree of financial abundance, and I feel generous. I work with a bunch of engineers and the gift is a goofy executive toy of sorts, so it should be fun.
I personally think that Christmas is popular because we all just want to believe in magic again, even if it's only for a short time each year in December.
I promised a metaphysically-based answer to this question so here it is.
I don't claim that this is definitively the reason for the continued popularity of Christmas - I am merely presenting this to you as an idea that you may wish to consider, and one that you may never have given thought to before.
After all, we have many festivals of celebration throughout the year but Christmas seems to dominate across the world even in many non-Christian countries.
I spent years playing with the following ideas and still do the following types of calculation from time to time if I am dealing with events for the general public or large groups. I always seem to get favorable results in those cases. I am still trying to figure out for sure whether it is my belief in the system that is creating those positive effects or whether the background effects from these cycles are causing them when applied to large groups of people.
Because I've spent so long playing with this stuff, I could drone on and on about this subject but instead I'm going to present this method as briefly as possible, without leaving out anything essential, and leave you to play with it and expand on it yourself if you wish to.
Here we go...
Firstly, read my answer here about how the number 7 seems to lie at the basis of so much in our world and notice the book that is referenced there if you really want to begin to investigate this subject more deeply.
Now, as an introductory example, let's consider that the Inward Quest website is a person (you can try this with your own birthday too and the principles will still apply).
Inward Quest was first announced via email to the public on October 4, 2009 (Simon Templeton sent an email asking for volunteers to join this website) so this can be considered when it was officially born.
Our society seems to place a lot of emphasis on birthdays. The following might explain why.
Now a solar year has 365.25 days in it.
We are going to assume that every cycle in the world goes through seven distinct phases so let's identify what those phases are for Inward Quest.
365.25 days divided by 7 = approximately 52 days per cycle phase
Let's identify and number those cycle phases.
Remember that we are starting for Inward Quest on Oct 4, 2009 and changing phase every 52 days.
Inward Quest - yearly cycle phases
...and then next year's Cycle Phase 1 starts on the birthday again, Oct 4, 2010.
First thing to notice from this is that I am saying that we should notice something different about the way people behave on the Inward Quest website during each of these cycle phases. We will shortly be entering Cycle Phase 3 (on Jan 16, 2010).
We have been in Cycle Phase 2 for a few weeks now. Have you noticed anything different about the personality of the website now compared to how it was from Oct 4 to Nov 25? I'll leave it to you to think about it and also to see if you notice anything different as we move into new cycle phases - it usually takes at least a few days for the energies from a new Cycle Phase to become obvious so don't expect immediate changes on those dates.
Now let's provide some detail for what is going on in those cycle phases.
I'm going to propose here that each of those phases represents a different "flavor" of energy that is dominant at that time and I'm going to label these "flavors" with the names of planets. I'm not saying this approach has anything to do with the planets. The names are actually unimportant. I could name them after the colors in the rainbow, the days of the week, or after Snow White's seven dwarfs, but by naming them after astrological planets I can save you a lot of time and trouble in deciphering what each phase means.
(Just as an aside, have you ever realized that the days in the week are also named directly after our planets? Sunday = Sun day, Monday = Moon day, Tuesday = Mardi (in French) = Mars day, Wednesday = Mercredi (in French) = Mercury day, Saturday = Saturn day. Check on Wikipedia for the origin of each day name and you'll see they all map correctly to the table below)
Cycle Phases vs Planetary Descriptions
Now go to this Wikipedia page describing planets in astrology (or you can do this with any decent astrology textbook too) and look at the descriptions for each planet, especially each paragraph that contains the astrological description for each planet.
For example, for Venus, it says...
And for Mars, it says...
What I am saying is that the "flavor" of each cycle phase can be worked out from looking at the descriptions for each planet. Remember again that I am not saying the planets have an effect, I am saying that there are seven archetypal energy types and, conveniently, the art/science of astrology has identified them for us.
If you want to start getting more detailed, you could say that modern astrology operates on a 12 phase cycle system - the 12 zodiac signs - while what is being proposed here is a 7 phase cycle system. The link between the two is the same link as having seven white keys on a piano keyboard making an octave (the eighth note is just the first note again) while having 5 black keys (semi-tones) interspersed between them... 7 + 5 = 12
Back to the Inward Quest cycle phases now...
Let's consider Cycle Phase 3 running from Jan 16 to Mar 9 every year for the website. This is now identified as a Mars phase. From the description of Mars, we can see that Mars has qualities of confidence, energy, strength, aggression etc.
What I am saying is that during that time, it will be noticeable that the website has those qualities. I can't say exactly how that will manifest. It's a bit like a weather forecast, it's the general conditions at the time. We may find that the site grows massively during that period, we may find that people start feeling more argumentative during that period, I can't say for sure. But watch out during that period and see if you notice anything different.
Now (finally) we know enough to tackle the question of Why is Christmas so popular?
There's one assumption I have to give you here (otherwise explaining it will make this long answer even longer) and that assumption is this one: The World's birthday is March 21 every year.
Let's compute the Cycle Phases for The World as before.
The World - yearly cycle phases
Christmas Day is December 25.
Which cycle phase is it in? --> Cycle Phase 6
Which planetary description applies to this phase? --> Venus
Look at the Venus description above. Notice how many qualities of pleasure, fun, relationships etc this cycle phase has.
Now you understand why Christmas is so popular :)
Yes, the idea that I am proposing is really that simple. But let's just go one step even further.
Let's take Cycle Phase 6 for the world and split that cycle into 7 phases...so that is splitting approximately 52 days by 7 = smaller cycle phases of approximately 7 days
Now we get...
The World - Cycle Phase 6
Notice that December 25 lies in the Mars cycle phase (of the larger Venus cycle phase).
Does anyone else notice the aggressiveness of, say, Christmas shoppers from December 20 onwards? Maybe it's not just about the stress of the build-up to Christmas, maybe there is something more to it? Also, perhaps this Mars cycle phase is why we overindulge so much on Christmas Day? (Mars has those impulsive and aggressive qualities, remember?)
I could even suggest now, based upon all this, that if you wanted to rebrand and relaunch Christmas to make it a genuinely harmonious and peaceful festival then Christmas Day should be moved to sometime between January 12 to January 27...the Venus cycle phase (of the larger Venus cycle phase).
The Chinese New Year celebrations sometimes fall into this date range...notice how happy and peaceful they generally are then?
Finally, you can apply this same idea to the hours in a 24 hour day, the days of the week, the years in your life (even seven years is a new phase) and so on.
I hope this answer has given you something to think about (if you've managed to read this far). The world and your life may have just become a little less random for you. :)
And I just have one final thing to say in this answer...the Stingray household wishes you all a happy Christmas!
I stumbled across this on PsiTek which I thought tied in very nicely with these ideas...
Oh, my goodness! This question has so many levels of answers! I am almost afraid to tackle it...Christmas is, of course, a celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. To some Christians, the period of Advent has a magic all its own. In our church services, we look back on the rich history and sweep of Christianity. This evokes feelings of joy and anticipation. It enriches our spiritual life when we apply our focus on to this great event.
On another level, Christmas seems almost contagious! Everyone (hopefully, except perhaps those in retail!) seems more happy, more patient, and more receptive to positive energy. It is as if we all "broadcast" Christmas Spirit, and it changes the tone of reality for a time.
Christmas is also a time that reminds us about the benefits of giving of ourselves and our resources. This, too, affects the mood of people. We can collectively manage to make miracles happen by working together in our giving. The feedback from this is tremendous. Stories abound, and lift our spirits, and inspire us to try harder.
Then there is the material side, which isn't necessarily all bad. We watch inspirational movies. We sing uplifting and beautiful songs. We give gifts, and if we have been very, very good, we receive a few, too! We cook special foods reserved just for the Holidays. It is all great fun! (If we let it be so!)
We have traditional decorations that we put on our houses and in them- special lights and trees and objects that our grandparents passed down to us.
We know that the date for Christmas was actually set to coincide with the re-lengthening of our daylight time, which the pagans observed with great anticipation. This meant that the days were going to eventually warm, the daylight hours lengthen, and spring could be anticipated one more time.
When you wrap all of this up in a pretty package, Christmas is just special. As I said, metaphysically, I think it is contagious. Christmas can be very fun, especially when we remember those less fortunate than ourselves.
Blessings, and Much Christmas Light, Jai
I think at Christmas we all take the time to reflect about the year that has just passed. It is a magical time of year when the human heart seems to open in a way that it might not the rest of the year. We are reminded more of the humble things of life and the older we get we realize that it is all about the giving because in the opening of the heart and the giving, we receive so much more than we can imagine.
It's about looking at the face of a five year old and seeing the light in his eyes when we talk of santa and with this comes the realization that there is wonder and,even more than that hope, in the believing ( and I'm not just talking about the man in the big red suit)
The baby Jesus for me represents that hope as he is the ultimate saviour who gave his very life in an excruciating way to show us that faith really will redeem us ( and you don't necessarily have to be christian to get this )
Families come together in a way they might not for the rest of the year and when you throw in the fun side of it, the whole mixture makes an unbeatable event. I love it!!! (and I hope that's contagious) :-)
answered 16 Dec '09, 02:53
I always thought it was because of the presents but your ideas are not bad either :P
I just got a nice Christmas story from my quotes service and I though this might be a good opportunity to share it.
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son, Kevin, who was 12 that year was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in the spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.
That's when the idea of his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition, one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys ga ve way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
Nancy W. Gavin
answered 19 Dec '09, 14:53
This answer I feel must be answered on many levels, I'll try addressing it from different conscious perspectives. Also from points of view as Christian and Secular points of view, as in the mythical aspect as well.
First Christmas represents the Birth of Jesus Christ. The one that came to teach humanity who we really are as the sons and daughters of God. This represents the birth of not only Jesus, but what he taught and stood for. It is true that many of his teachings could be traced back 500 years before to the Buddha, but truth is universal. So this same truth can as well be traced back way more years to Krishna as well. But there is something very special of Jesus, he connected with us as one of us, and as God. From this he came to teach, but as well be able to save us as he gave us a way to reach to heaven, as a new way of thinking and being. When he died for our sins we suddenly see that we have a choice, and that sin leads to death. We see that our mistaken beliefs that bring us into depression and guilt pull us to deaths door. Also as well that we can place those sins at the foot of the cross, and they have been already washed away, gone. So in this it is not only the birth of Jesus, but as well the birth of hope for humanity. I am not saying it is the only one, but it is highly worthy of the celebration that we can say "because God chose to experience being human, we can later experience being God" that is the greatest love for us all, that we are worthy of that sacrifice.
Now from a conscious perspective, as I said the birth of Jesus was the birth of hope for humanity now I'll say the birth of Christ is the hope for humanity. The Christ is the crown, we all wear this mantel. We are born as the sons and daughters of God to be Gods, as it says in the bible in a few places, Psalms 82 for one example. This is our birth in (awakening consciousness) for humanity, the birth of the Christ consciousness. Now from this we can say "but it has been here since the beginning", this is true but, it hadn't a day to represent it though. It was more an abstract thing that few knew or understood, so in Jesus coming he showed, here it is, here I Am. In that moment the consciousness of Christ was solidified and recognized in a concrete way on Earth. This is why the three Magi came to Jesus birth with gifts. Everything they knew was just scraping the surface of what this fully awake-aware baby had trapped within, to be released as a far greater gift to humanity than ever imagined.
Now we'll move into Secular part, that partly came from the religious actually.
Santa Claus came from the name Saint Nicolas, and if a child were to learn that name Saint Nicolas and attempt the pronunciation, it would most likely sound a lot like Santa Claus. Just move the first syllable from Nicolas and add it to Saint sounding like this "Saintni" and then listen to the two syllables of colas "col as" and you have Santa Claus. Saint Nicolas was a real person that did give out toys as a way to remember Jesus Christ birth. He became know as Father Christmas in many parts of the world, if we think of the Catholic Church he probably was know as Father. Since he passed out toys on Christmas it was a short jump to put the two together. Through the years and wild imaginations to entertain children the Santa we know today emerged. Along the line, elves, magic, flying sleigh and reindeer all came into being. I once saw it said Coke a Cola was responsible for the Santa we know today in a big way. I don't know how true that is, you would need to dig deeper in history than my memory that is sure.
Now the feeling of Christmas is good will to all, sharing love and appreciation that says to friends and family, "you mean something to me and I want to show how much with this token of my love and appreciation for you." This uplifts the spirit of all and even I believe earth it self! The more happiness generated, the more happiness is attracted as a mass experience, in other words the 100th monkey theory at play.
The word Christmas itself has a certain feeling to it like no other word in life. It sounds like magic; it feels like magic, with people saying the same word over, and over again, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, what a beautiful sound to hear?
It is time of the year, like no other time of the year. It is joyous, full of love, giving and sharing time, like no other time of the year.
It is peace, and Love, and good will to all men, the preachers gets dressed up, and the churches are full of people on Christmas Day, even the ones that does not go to Church for the rest of the year, except on Christmas Day.
Christmas is a great way for long last families to reunite together, like no other time in the years. It is all about spending special time together, celebrating the birth of our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ. And people like to spend a lot of time shopping and buying, and exchanging gifts to mark the celebration of the birthday of Jesus born 2000,000 years ago, to prove their love to him.
There is so much magic in Christmas that all children that hear about Christmas, also hears about Santa Clause, and writes to him for their special present at Christmas Time.
Children love to sing, act, and play in their Christmas Concert at School, like no other time in the years; the teachers works very hard with the children for this special celebration, like no other celebration in the year.
Many companies have Christmas Parties for their staff, as a way of giving, and sharing in the festive season, like no other time in the year.
Look at all the beautiful colorful Christmas lights all around the world, shinning bright as the Star that led the three Kings to the birth place of Jesus Christ the son of God. You will never see such beautiful things all around the world, except at Christmas time.
The magic and spirit of Christmas grows all around the world with the rich, and poor alike, and everyone that wants to celebrate, with their festive foods, and drinks like no other time in the year.
Christmas is special because of all the very different reasons given above, but most of all because it is Jesus birthday, gifts, and all.
Merry Christmas to you all, and lets us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the celebration of life, love, peace. Joy, harmony, and good will to all men in Jesus name. I love Christmas time. Do you?
answered 20 Dec '09, 06:52
Inactive User ♦♦
Well, I think Christmas is so popular because No 1 it is the day we choose to worship the birth of God's word manifest into flesh through the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came so that we may have life and life more abundantly and to die on the cross for all of our sins for he is the only one who could do that for he is now our savior through what he has endured as a God and man (human) at the same time for he was both God and human so therefore he knows what we humans go through being human. He was our blessing and gift from God to us for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son.
Now on another level the stores and business love it for the money they are making during this time. So, yes they are going to encourage this for financial reasoning.
On a family level or a personal level it is a spiritual and a magical time of love, happiness, joy, excitement, creativity, and shairing of love, gifts, and each other. Now it is more of a feeling than anything else if I was to take a big guest I would say it is the humanity at it highest point of physically loving and caring for one another and happyness all over the world. This of all other holidays we really if only for few days we sometimes we really get it and we try to help others and do for others unselfishly and yes we enjoy the gifts we receive but it is the time of the year the human race comes together as a whole and is at its best trying to do nice things and the vibrational frequency I believe is at its highest as a whole human race for more people are happier during Christmas season than I believe any other time of the year they feel the joy, excitement, the happiness and they try to be a better person during that time and not a old scourge type of person.
Thanks when we learn to help others just for the fun of it and than we realize how good it makes us feel good.
After the Christmas season people seem to go back to being a simple them until the next time when the Christmas season is upon us. Now this is not saying that people don't help people and feel happy during other parts and times of the year but I believe it is the time the most people feel this way.
It is contagious with a large group of people feeling and doing a certain way and sometimes even the scroughes type of people get caught up in the Christmas spirit of the loving and the giving for the simply fact of seeing a smile on other people faces.
answered 24 Dec '09, 08:05
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