At worst Christmas seems to be an exercise in mass consumerism that now begins as early as late September or early October and runs to December. It features frenzied panic buying for forgotten relatives sandwiched between the Black Friday sales and the Boxing Day sales.
At best Christmas seems to be about the nativity, the birth story of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem filled with the miracles and the symbolism; however, it does not focus on the life and teachings of Jesus. The acts of compassion, generosity, forgiveness, or being humble might be mentioned but they appear as side notes to the nativity.
This seems like a missed opportunity to put the ‘Christ’ back in Christmas by focusing more on the themes of compassion, generosity, and forgiveness that Jesus personified through his his teachings. We hope that future Christmases can put these teachings into action. For example we find that activities like this exemplify Christianity at Christmas time:
- Actively donate money to charity organisations
- Donating presents to children hospitals
- Giving food to food banks.
Christianity vs. Buddhim
Obviously there are significant differences between Christianity and Buddism. For example, Christianity is a theistic religion with the concept of a creater God, whereas Buddhism has no concept of a creator God. Therefore, Buddhism has none of the relationship with a God or praising a God, but we do feel a deep sense of appreciation and request assistance from the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Despite these differences, we find a lot of overlap between the teachings of Christ and the Buddha, particularly on subjects like compassion, generosity, and forgiveness.
One interesting point is that we found in researching this article was that Thomas Jefferson wrote two books on Christianity. Thomas Jefferson constructed the ‘Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth’ by extracted sections from the New Testament on the doctrine of Jesus, excluding the supernatural and the miracles.