Each of us are left to determine what is good and proper preparation for the spiritual holiday known as Christmas, literally "Christ's Mass, "the Savior's Sacrifice" or "God's Coming to Us" as portrayed in the song, "Emmanuel, Emmanuel." Whatever your belief system, it is good to designate a time to celebrate the power of the Universe causing the creating of earth and life, and the saving and healing of life. Things for which we can be truly grateful.
Most systems of belief will acknowledge that we are to work in harmony with the continuing power of the Universe. As recipients of creation we join in the stewardship (maintenance and health) of the earth, the life that comes about from it, our watchfulness and action in the protection of the needy, and the healing of those who have suffered from earth's imperfections. Finding peace and satisfaction in our work and beliefs is a part of what life on earth is about.
A significant number within creation exist without putting any of this into any system of belief. Others have a deep conviction that certain holy writings tell us there is an intelligence behind the system and name the intelligence "the power of the Universe" or one of several other names--God, Yaweh, and Allah. Others, such as Atheism, Hinduism and Buddhism, cannot be correctly tied in to a creator or personal God but leave "creation" in various states of asteroid rock, chemicals, energy, heat, and the resultant effects of such over time and evolution.
Christmas was not celebrated for the first 335 years after Jesus' death and reported resurrection. It began its celebration on December 25th in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine who was the first Christian Roman Emperor. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th of December. It was to replace the old pagan celebration of Winter Solstice and redirect people's thinking to the newly official faith of the Empire.
A significant number of persons have returned to Christmas as a secular holiday promoted by business and country in an effort to be economically saved and healed. I intend to make no judgment on this historical reality but only to encourage those uplifted and inspired by the spiritual part of the holiday to make special efforts to maintaining generations of tradition and spiritual story. Emmanuel is the story of heavenly love coming to earth, to each of us, to enjoy and to share since we are told by holy writ that Emmanuel is the very essence of love in the world and in our hearts.
(Rev. G. A. Franklin)