On the Spirit of Christmas 2015

Although the daily news goes against these thoughts, but I truly believe the following:

  • The majority of people in the world are good.
  • Smiles are the universal language that crosses all language and cultural barriers.
  • Kindness is the universal action that everyone appreciates.

These points are constantly in my head when volunteering at the English Second Language (ESL) classes – especially with Arabs and Muslims. For me, Matt Harding’s videos support my thoughts. After all, all one has to do is watch the faces in the video. Maybe that’s part of the reason this video frequently waters my eyes.

You may wonder what this has to do with the Christmas season, but (to me) it demonstrates an important essence of the holiday season in today’s world.

Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday … and yes, I’m a Christian. While some complain about the secular and commercial aspect by proclaiming “put Christ back into Christmas”, my contrarian nature sees another view. For those embracing that mantra, I say go for it – but not at the expense of others because the spirit of Christmas is for everyone.

Besides its religious significance, Christmas is also a celebration of goodness: The goodness that ties the entire human race. The goodness that crosses all geographic and cultural boundaries, including language and religion. The goodness that is for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Sikhs, and all other religions. The goodness is for all ages, all genders, all races, and all sexual orientations … simply the goodness for all people everywhere.

Yes, the roots of Santa Claus lie deep within Christianity. From St. Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra), other traditions developed as baby Christkindl (eventually Kris Kringle), Father Christmas, and Sinterklaas. Europeans brought these traditions (and others) to the United States that serve as the foundation for Christmas today.

Several events in mid-to-late 1800s helped morph Santa: mainly Thomas Nast’s version of Santa in Harper’s Weekly, and Clement Clayton Moore’s icon poem, The Night Before Christmas.

Although Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and various Norman Rockwell paintings helped transform Santa’s image in the early 1900s, it was artist Haddon Sundblom’s portrayals of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola that cemented the image of Santa Claus that we embrace today. From 1931-1964, Sundblom’s Santa served as a brilliant marketing total for the beverage company giant.

All along the journey from Nicholas of Myra to the modern-day Santa, goodness is the common theme. Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas – the one who portrays goodness and kindness to all. If goodness is for everyone, it seems logical to me that everyone can celebrate Christmas. Santa Claus is the one who sees kindness across cultures, religions, races, and languages. After all, the majority of us want kindness, plus peace and goodwill for all.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly give to me. Thank you for helping me maintain my faith in humanity. One hand is sufficient in counting the number of visitors here I’ve physically met, but I am sure of one thing – You are the good of Santa’s spirit.

For my video gifts to you, enjoy two version of Silent Night. The first by Mannheim Steamroller accompanied by beautiful displays from the night sky is one of my long-time favorites. For those preferring a singer, Placido Domingo joins The Piano Guys.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Christmas … Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you.

Peace to all.

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86 thoughts on “On the Spirit of Christmas 2015

  1. There’s a song, by Jackson Browne, called “The Rebel Jesus,” that has become my favorite Christmas song. I think it’s consistent with your feeling about the spirit of Christmas having potential meaning for non-Christians (I encourage you to go listen to the whole song–it’s beautiful):

    In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
    We have need for anything that frees us
    So I bid you pleasure
    And I bid you cheer
    From a heathen and a pagan
    On the side of the rebel Jesus.

    So, Frank, have a wonderful Christmas (from this pagan and heathen!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Merry Christmas, Frank! Lovely words you’ve written. No matter our traditions or beliefs, we all want the same things. Like you, I believe that most people are inherently good. Time to stop seeing others as enemies and embrace change and tolerance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela!
      I was thinking of you a short time ago, stopped by, but didn’t leave a message on your last post from long ago. Love it when synchronicity comes through!

      Cheers to your attitude toward humanity. The news makes it challenging, but I still believe in the goodness. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      So tell me … are you doing well?

      Like

  3. This was one of the best posts I have read this holiday season. I was about to use the word tolerance, but I think I should say acceptance. That is what the world so desperately needs to learn. Acceptance and respect of our differences will truly make this a joyous world. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Like

  4. Its a celebration
    In the Crescent City
    On the day that Christ was born
    Mistletoe hanging everywhere, light everywhere
    Decor on every pole
    lets take a horse and carriage ride
    Grab some beignets, sippin on hot cocoa
    Take a ride through Christmas in the Oaks
    We ride, we ride, we ride
    We thank about that famous gumbo, to warm us up cause its cold outside
    Its Christmas, Christmas in New Orleans
    Its Christmas, Christmas in New Orleans — Louis Armstrong

    Merry Christmas, y’all.

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  5. In the spirit of Matt, all the best to you and yours this holiday season! May your vision prevail over the rough rhetoric floating about these days.

    “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion,” Cruz said at a multi-candidate event in Cedar Rapids sponsored by the Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks group. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

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  6. What a beautiful post, Frank. May you and Right Angle have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for all the laughs, the teasing and the great pleasure you and your blog have given me this year. I look forward to continuing to goof around with you here in Word Press!

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  7. No one sings Silent Night like Placido Domingo. It brings strong memories of mother. .. ⭐ Sigh…lent night. ⭐
    I wonder why Coca Cola stopped using Sundblom’s Santa? Or why they haven’t revived him?
    I designed costumes for a movie “Santa Who” about 12 years ago. It starred Leslie Nielsen & the director asked us to use Sundblom’s Santa as our reference. I found a book “Dream of Santa” that features all of Sundblom’s Santa paintings for Coca Cola with text. It really is a fab book, but I’m sure I haven’t looked at it since the movie was wrapped. After reading your post, I wondered if I still owned the book. I own many, many books in several bookcases, nonetheless, first shelf, first book I picked… not even reading the spines… just pulled out a book and it is “Dream of Santa” . I’m going to enjoy it again this season.
    Merry Christmas!

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    • Resa,
      Holiday cheers to my favorite Canadian fashion designer. 🙂 Interesting tie to one of your movie designs and Sundblom’s Santa. Very interesting …. so glad we have a link. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to you!

      Like

  8. Christmas is really an universal celebration and fun day!! The whole world comes together for fun and happinesses 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and your wife!! Hope you have an amazing holiday and a wonderful 2016 🙂

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  9. Frank, thank you for that marvelous gift of message; it touched both the heart and the mind. And the Matt Harding video had me crying in a nanosecond, laughing and crying. “A Frank Angle” is a wonderful place that you’ve created, a place for people to gather, talk, laugh, contribute and meet fellow travelers – a gift to the rest of us. A blessed and merry Christmas to you, my friend!

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    • Lynn,
      I truly think we are of common mind and soul because you understand how Matt’s video fits into my message … and that fact is a great gift for me. Many thanks … and also for the kind words. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Our modern Christmas traditions have their roots in the older midwinter holidays that surrounded the shortest day of the year. They’re a collection of some of the most fun aspects of those holidays from around the globe. The tree became popular in Germany first. I like seeing all these interweaving traditions as a way we are all similar despite country and ethnic borders, which always try to separate us from them for political and economic reasons. This is a good time of year for seeing everyone as one. We are one species. We are all part of each other’s family. Great post! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!!

    Like

    • Marina,
      Merry Christmas to you! … You arrived late because I posted it late. I was horrified at discovering my Christmas Eve morning that the post didn’t publish because I had the wrong time set .. .which I especially had the Europeans in mind.

      Like

  11. Pingback: On a Holiday Reprise as Shorts | A Frank Angle

  12. Merry Christmas, Frank!
    And while I see your point about Christmas being a celebration of goodness, and goodness in universal, the fact that it’s nominally (and at least a little more than nominally) for most people is a celebration of Jesus’s birthday, does raise the question why a non-Christian would be celebrating a day of goodness on this day, and not on any other day, including any days set aside for goodness celebrations in their own religions. The problem is, Christmas seems to be combining two different holiday: a solely Christian part of Jesus (church services, nativity scenes, carols), and a pretty much a secular part (Santa, elves, reindeer, presents, fir trees – while there is hint of Christianity in Santa, this character was a merger between St. Nicholas and various pagan deities, and modern Santa only bears metaphorical resemblance to St. Nicholas. But elves and flying reindeer? That’ about as Christian as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings). The secular part could be a unifying celebration of goodness that could cross religions or lack thereof – so a solution could be something like former Soviet Union ended up now: the secular part of Christmas was de-Christianized during the Soviet times, moving Santa, presents, trees and lights as attributes in the celebration of New Years Day, while the birth of Jesus’s celebration was restored as a holiday after the Soviet Union and observed according to the Eastern Orthodox calendar on January 7 or so.
    As a non-Christian myself, I would much rather see that – a unifying non-religious day of celebration of goodness applicable to everyone, separated from the Christian-only religious celebration.

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    • X,
      Thanks for your thoughts and holiday wishes. To give you a simple answer, think of a Venn diagram with a Santa ring and a Jesus ring, One can take their pick. Besides, it’s a season of goodness, who would disagree with Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All?

      Like

  13. One of these years I just might show up at your holiday party (and see if you recognize me in person). Thanks for all of the “angles” you’ve shared this year. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, prosperous 2016!

    Like

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