Go to contents

[Opinion] The Host of Christmas Day

Posted December. 24, 2003 22:53,   


A pastor of a well-known church in downtown Seoul was recently invited to an amusement park. The purpose of invitation was for him to view the scene of various Christmas events and celebration parades at the spot. However, while noticing the splendid performances and parades with excitement, he became to feel depressed. Those spectacular dances, Christmas carols, gigantic Christmas trees and free gifts with the celebration parades which were participated by lots of Western dancers, were definitely filled with Christmas mood, but it somehow looked like a birthday party without the host. Most of all, appearance of the Santa Claus instead of Jesus Christ, at the center of the stage when reaching the climax of the event, was quite disappointing to him. Last Sunday, he asked to the believers of church during his preach, “Dear everyone, is Santa Claus the master of the Christmas?”

▷ Without question, Christmas day has been created in commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ at a humble barn in Bethlehem of Israeli territory 2000 years ago. It is the birthday of the Christ, sole son of the God, who died upon the Cross for the sake of the mankind. A word ‘Christmas’ itself contains the meaning of ‘Mass of Christ’. Therefore, master of Christmas is no doubt the baby Jesus, not the Santa Claus. However, since some times ago, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, wasteful parties and dear gifts, instead of the holy Jesus, have occupied the main subjects of Christmas.

▷ In the Bible, there is no detailed description of the exact date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Considering the records stating that shepherd boys came out to the field at night and watched the herd, it is likely that December was not the real date. The most probable hypothesis is this: Church nominated December 25, the birthday of Sun God ‘Mithra’ in the event of defeating Rome heathen who worshiped the Sun God around 4th century. But Eastern Church still observes Jan. 6 as Christmas day. And in Israel where the Jesus Christ has been considered as one of prophet rather than a Savior, they do not hold any particular events in these periods.

▷Like the Korean saying, “All guests but no host in a party,” Christmas Eve across the country is full of every sort of parties and entertainments. Every year in this period, bars, karaokes, nightclubs and recreation rooms have overflowed with clients and love hotels were hitting the highest profits of the year. ‘Joy to the World’ seems to be changed to ‘Joy to the Entertainment’. Some obstetricians are saying that they enjoys special demands of ‘Christmas babies’. Enjoying is good, but would it be also meaningful to remember once the true origin of Christmas? It is not too short for a day to spend the well-thought Christmas.

Oh Myung-chul, Editorial writer, oscar@donga.com