I was baptised into orthodox Christian/Catholic faith when i was a very young baby and was bought up to relish and enjoy the end of year holidays and at 57 years old after almost 35 years of chanting, I still do, I love it !
I think we are all aware that Jesus, son of David and next in line to the throne of Jerusalem was most certainly not born on Dec 25th and really has very little to do with it.
The Christmas as we know to day is a mixture of european/pagan/solstice/ritual which history tells us combined in November with the benevolent actions of St. Nicholas. The correct pronounciation in native tounge of St. Nicholas is Santa Niklause which has eveloved into Santa Clause.
The date of Dec 25th comes into play as the date that the Roman emporer Constantine declared himself the "Vicar or Son of God" and formaly converted Rome to the Christian faith.thereby ensuring it's (Romes) place in history as the "Eternal City" )
The time period between November and January is reveered in all the Major Religions, from the Muslim Haaj through to Christian/Hindu/Catholic and Buddhist celebrations..
It is a unique time in the calender of many cultures when they all gather together to pray for unification and peace for future generations.
I love the western culture christmas holidays as a time to renew friendship and bonds with family members and friends, a time to exchange gifts as tokens of respect to our loved one as well as instilling the wonder of gift giving and peace to the children, it is there fore a very special time, whatever faith you follow, best to try and keep a financial cap on it though eh?
I personally chant to have a great happy and healthy family christmas and go on from there to to chanting and setting my determinations for my celebrations and study of the New Years Gongyo & Gosho from which i set uut my sterminations for the new year.
I understand that differing cultures and faiths celebrate in different ways, but it is unique as a short period of goodwill that mostly trancends national and religous boundaries and brings people of differing beliefs together in a common desire for peace.
As buddhists it's a great time for us to expound the New Year Gosho and our practise as well as embracing and listening to others in a spirit of "interfaith" which for myself is an important vehicle and activity that bings me to believe I am practising what is right for me.
So i would say, go ahead, chant for a great Chritmas with family and friends whilst looking forward to expressing your faith and determinations for the new year ! the Buddhist Christmas holiday period is a GREAT time for shakabuku!
Have a great one !
ps - some dates and events above may not be wholly acurate, but seems to be the generally agreed dates and origins of Christmas.
Thank you Terry...this was very helpful. Because most of my friends are really into it this year. And for some i just was not feeling it...and with everyone struggling i just could not get into the spirit. Thank you again..Lorna
Thnks for your reply, I forgot to mention that in our district, there are many mothers with young children and the last discussion meeting of the year is usually kicks off early afternoon with a christmas party for all the kids who have loads of munchies and soft drinks. The afternoon reaches a climax for them with a visit from a Santa bringing some sweets and a sing song around the piano, they all love it !
Of course there is no Christian teaching and foundation involved as we are practising Buddhism and do not celebrate christmas in any religous sense nor revere Jesus as "The son of god" nor do we base our lives on the Bible.
We have the Gosho and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon. To us it is simply a festive season of good will leading up to our celebration of New Year.
Best wishes for a great new year !
PS - heres a great site for studying the Gosho with guest lecture and experience by podcast :
Hi, not all Christian faiths observe Christmas, those of us that were raised in "Christian-Jehovah Witness" households were taught differently than other Christian faiths. I think its an individual thing. In fact, those that have converted from Muslim, Judaism and other faiths probably would have not celebrated Christmas either. Thank you, James