by Gary McHale
For some the true meaning of Christmas is found in family and friends gathering to enjoy opening presents, eating turkey and pumpkin pie. For others Christmas has something to do with Santa Claus, elves and flying reindeer.
Much has changed over the past 100 years to the point where most people couldn’t tell you what the true meaning of Christmas is. Recently, a YMCA chapter in the USA banned Santa Claus from their display claiming it was too religious and thus they only use a snowman with penguins.
Many organizations that were Christian 100 years ago have no Christianity in them today. In 1844 in London, England Sir George Williams formed the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) with the goal of having an organization which puts Christian principles into practice. More locally, McMaster University was formed in 1887 and was owned and controlled by the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec and, prior to 1887 operated under the name Toronto Baptist College. It wasn’t until 1927 that McMaster University agreed to move from Toronto to Hamilton.
It is not surprising that average people have difficulty understanding Christmas when the institutions that were created by Christians no longer retain any real Christian views. While our institutions come and go the true meaning of Christmas hasn’t changed since the day the angels first appeared and spoke the good news to the shepherds in Bethlehem.