In this essay I will look at the key factors which determine the impact of Christmas on practising Christian's lifestyles. Christmas is celebrated today by both devout Christians and also socially by most people. To Christians, Christmas is a time of prayer reflection and happiness. It is a time that Christians believe that God came to earth in human form, through Jesus, this is called the incarnation. Celebrating Christmas does not mean that a Christian attends church on December the 25th and that's it. Christians change their lifestyles around the entire advent period.
This starts four Sundays before Christmas; it represents the beginning of the Christmas period and is a special time for Christians. To Christians the only true meaning of Christmas is the coming of Jesus, for many others Christmas revolves around presents and parties etc. Many of the customs today have no bearing on the way Christians celebrate Christmas. Many special services are held at or around Christmas time; there are many different types of masses held, one of these is midnight mass. This is a special mass worshipers attend between 11:30 and 12:00am on Christmas Eve, carols are sung and prayers said.
The archbishop also gives a televised sermon on Christmas Eve; he discusses thing which may be important topics or thing he wishes worshipers to reflect upon. Carol services are also held frequently in this period, Christians feel this is important because it allows them to reflect and retell the Christmas story in a positive fun way. Gospel churches are also very big on carol services, many of the proceeds made from these go to charity to help others at this time. Helping others is very important in the local community and churches often arrange activities which can fund local or international projects to help those in need.
As well as the public things they do, advent is also a time for spiritual reflection for Christians. Many moments are spent in silent meditation and prayer, Christians want to be ready to receive Jesus although not physically into the world but into their hearts, and it is important they have reached the right state of mind. The customs kept at Christmas are deeply symbolic of Jesus' birth and His love for the world. Customs such as the advent wreath show the light of Jesus, the cristingle orange is depicting Jesus' love for the world in a way children can understand and remember.
The nativity scene can be found outside most churches and in many other places, this serves as a reminder, a way of showing that Christmas treat every year as though their saviour is coming to earth. Even the idea of presents which has become much distorted derives form the original idea of God giving Christians the gift of His one and only son. So to conclude we can see that the customs kept by Christian have a clear effect on their lives and these customs are symbolic and linked to the Christmas story.