By Robbie Mackay
Increasingly these days you often hear that the true value and spirit of Christmas has been lost and forgotten – replaced with mass commercialism. It can’t be denied that gift buying for our loved ones is a significant part of the festive holidays and a key time of year for retailers. After all there is no better sight than watching the sheer delight magically appear on a little Cherubs face (whether they’re 3 or 83!) – After proudly proclaiming “Santa’s been”! Kyrenia Post feel it’s important to strike the correct balance between up holding past customs, learning the meaning of Christmas and embracing the present day. For Christians – Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December and is a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. The Traditional Christmas Narrative, The Nativity of Jesus, says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, when Mary and Joseph arrived in the city, the Inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further spread the joyus word. Today, most Christians celebrate on the 25th of December – following the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25th as by the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to the 7th of January in the Gregorian calendar, the day after the Western Christian Church celebrates the Epiphany (which is also known as Three Kings’ Day and is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnated as Jesus Christ). This is not a disagreement over the date of Christmas as such, but rather a preference of which calendar should be followed to determine the day that is actually the 25th of December – if that makes sense!
Christmas is often the only chance throughout the year when family and friends are able to congregate – for whatever reason; work commitments, busy schedules or logistics. Magic moments – especially upon reflection years later. For ‘Ex-Pats’ worldwide including here in Cyprus it’s often the only time of the year that they can bear to leave their Cyprus Paradise Bubble – returning to colder climes. Moments to be cherished. It’s a time to give thanks and to spare a thought to the amazing personnel serving in our Forces who won’t make it home. Also spare a thought to their families who worry throughout the year, but especially so at this special, yet sometimes emotional time. Whether or not you celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas – most people the world over enjoy the special time for their own reasons. A time for reflection; a time to give back something; a time to begin making plans and expeditions; a time to EAT and EAT then EAT some more; a time to truly relax away from hectic, modern life and a time to catch up with friends and family, to reminisce, make merriment, laugh and cry (sometimes in equal measure), watch certain films, TV shows and music all evoking past memories.
Each family has there own traditions – for me growing up there are many magical and humorous moments firmly lodged deep within my heart. It’s a cliche but as I get older I realise spending time with family is and was so very, very precious. For me – family is the true meaning of Christmas. Unfortunately I don’t have the space to jot all these merry moments down however as I write I recall fond times from my teenage years in Edinburgh – picking up three generations of family in my Mother’s car – a navy blue SAAB convertible with ivory leather – she was a beauty. My Father, Grannie, Great Grannie and Great Auntie who were both in their 90’s at the time thrived on the company of ‘young ones’ – they were sharp as a tack and very mobile, strong, independent Edinburgh Ladies – but had to be lifted in and out of the grand tourer due to it’s low stance. This caused huge hilarity amongst family and those on the streets of Tollcross, even more so when my Great Auntie Milly dawned a headscarf and asked – “it’s awfy kind a ye tae pick us up son – keep the roof open”. I guess my point is that many factors make this time of year special and memorable, regardless of your ‘religious’ beliefs. Whether or not you realise it at that moment in time – it’s about making memories which will last a lifetime. Enjoy this special time of year. I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas.