It is always interesting to send out a Buddhist newsletter on a so called Christian holiday. And it leads me to research a little how these two can be mixed harmoniously.
First, I was assuming that Christmas is a purely Christian holiday, and learned that it's not: It has roots in the winter solstice celebration common to northern people. Christmas trees, holly branches, mistletoe, candles, feasts, gift-giving -- all are older than Christmas "proper." And long celebrated before the birth of Christ. (and just for interest, the new Testament gives no actual date, or year of Jesus birth)
Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of celebration between December 17-25.
December 25th, the winter solstice by the Julian calendar, the day of the least sunlight of the year, was the day on which many sun-worshiping pagans worshiped the sun (lest the sunlight should disappear altogether); they also held festivals shortly thereafter in gratitude for lengthening days.
Another popular holiday on the Roman calendar, Kalendae (literally, "the first of the month"), or "New Year's Day," was only a few days beyond the Saturnalia. Kalends was dedicated to the two-headed god, Janus, who looked forward to the future and backward to the past. It was celebrated with a feast, garlands of evergreens and the exchanging of small gifts, particularly of lamps with which to light one's path into the future.
So I've learned a few things from my research...
Don't believe everything, you believe!...I think the buddha said it a little differently:
And what could be more Buddhist than a holiday that celebrates giving, compassion, human warmth, and
Joy to the world!
Merry Christmas to all.