Christmas, a time of giving, of reflection and temporarily at least, standing aside from the day-to-day business and work life.
So where does Christmas come from ? Simply it is the Mass of Christ as practised by those of the Christian faith. In its earliest form, this religious communion (or Mass) had to occur after sunset usually at midnight and many of the Orthodox Christian Churches have retained that custom. Over the past century, increasingly other non-Christian societies have adopted the practice of Christmas as a holiday rather than the religious belief.
With the commercial promotion of consumer purchases and retail sales that now dominate the public domain, what is the origin of the giving of presents and gifts ? According to Matthew 2: verses 1-12 of the Christian Bible, three wise men came to the town of Bethlehem in then state of Judea and brought gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Referred to as Magi (or Magos in Ancient Greek and Magupati in Ancient Persian), this is a title often bestowed on priests or astronomers/astrologers. The three wise men are also often referred to as Kings: Gaspar the King of Sheba, Melchior the King of Arabia and Balthazar, the King of Tarse and Egypt. Their gifts were symbolic and represent specific meanings within the region - Gold represents kingship, Myrrh is death or mortality and Frankinsense as a symbol of deity.
Wherever you are and whatever your belief, Happy Christmas and as the late Irish comedian, Dave Allen often remarked, 'May your God go with you'.