Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas!!
Grandmothers stand corrected these days! A couple of years ago, when I wished my granddaughter a Happy Christmas, she told me I should say, ‘Merry Christmas’… Just about a week ago, I wished a client, ‘Happy Christmas’ and her instantaneous response was, ‘Merry Christmas’.
Should it be Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas? I googled it and believe it or not there are articles on the question of Happy Christmas vs. Merry Christmas.
Historians believe it might boil down to a simple grammatical lesson. There was nothing simple about the grammatical explanation and I would prefer to leave grammar to Wren and Martin.
Let us understand these words: ‘Happy’ is a word that describes an inner emotional condition. ‘Merry’ describes behaviour, something active that could be raucous. In reality I believe merry making is incongruous at Christmas time!
So, we have the act of ‘merry-making’ vs. the state of simply being happy.
Take your pick folks…
As for me, call me old fashioned (Oh! I forgot to mention that historically ‘merry’ is of recent origin) but I am sticking to Happy Christmas because Christmas makes me happy. The birth of Jesus makes me very happy.
I would like to share some of the symbols of Christmas that have made me joyful and thoughtful. These symbols come with my thoughts and messages that have evolved over the years through the faith I profess, the work I do, my experiences and family life.
‘By and by they find a little nook
In a stable all forlorn.
And in a manger cold and dark
Mary’s little boy was born.’
Yes, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable with no amenities except straw and the warm breath of the animals. She would definitely have gone through the pangs of child birth with no one but Joseph to help and the lowing of the cows. The miracle and wonder of childbirth is repeated over and over every single moment, all over the world. How many of these women lack care and facilities for a safe delivery!
Let’s give a thought and a prayer for the migrant, homeless, rural and even the poor urban women who give birth to babies without any help, medical or otherwise.
‘Love is God now asleep in the hay;
See the glow in the eyes of the mother.’
Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem as a couple. With the birth of Jesus they were a family. The birth of the child made the family complete, tied with bonds of joy, love and caring.
And that is the message to each one of us. Celebrate the birth of a child with love. Not a smothering of love, but love with responsibility.
‘The Angels sang when the baby was born
And spread the Good News’
Have you experienced angels ministering to you? I have, multiple times.
The beauty was that they were all human angels who were there during difficult and happy times.
The universe is calling out to each one of us to be an angel, to reach out to others in love, support, generosity and care.
‘The shepherds came
Where the baby was born’
These simple, often looked-down upon shepherds have much to teach us. They lead, guide and show the way. They know the terrain they traverse. They know their sheep and the sheep know them. They will go in search of even the one lost sheep.
‘We three kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star’
The three kings followed the star and reached the manger, bearing gifts for the child Jesus to show their love.
That is the tradition to presenting gifts to each other on Christmas Day. The gifts should be chosen with love, or made with love and presented with love to family and friends. Let’s reach out to at least one person who will love to receive a gift this Christmas day. Secret Santa is ever ready to help.
Just a couple of other symbols associated with Christmas.
The Christmas tree — the Evergreen tree reaching up to the sky. Eco-spirituality is not just a term. It is a spirituality that needs to be practised as planet earth has been gifted to mankind. It is our duty and responsibility to take care of this earth that is crying out for help. Let us plant one sapling this
Christmas season as a gesture that we care.
I am sure that all of us will agree that one of the all time favourite Christmas songs is ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” There is an interesting story behind the creation of the story and subsequently the song.
In 1939, Montgomery Ward in Chicago asked one of their admen — Robert L May to write a story for the department stores own children’s book.
Another version says Robert May wrote the story for his 4 year old daughter who had just lost her mother to cancer. He couldn’t afford to buy her a Christmas gift and so he made a story book.
The story Robert May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was — the butt of teasing and bullying. The character was a little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.
Let’s be sensitive to the needs of our fellow beings who are challenged, rejected, ridiculed and bullied.
And lastly, I have a little surprise gift for you — Take a nice, fresh apple, wash it well. Then cut it in the centre horizontally. Hidden there is a symbol of Christmas for you.
A very Happy Christmas! Have a Wonderful season.
Let’s ring in 2021 with the hope that the virus will exit with a bow.
Lots of love and good wishes.
I am taking a break and will be back in 2021.
Till then — Take care, Be Safe!