When I think about Christmas, I think about the origins of Christmas.
Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, but it was never solely a Christian celebration. Early Christians were darn good at disguising, so they used the cover of the Roman Saturnalia to hold their own celebrations. But the origins of Christmas goes back in pre-history to pre-pagan times with the celebration of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are many wonderful stories about happenings at Christmas. Stories like the Allied and Axis armies of World War 1 who called a ceasefire for the day and shared a meal, in the trenches... Of people reaching out to strangers in the midst of devastation... And families being reunited.
But not so nice and tragic happenings also occur on Christmas Day especially here in Australia. Christmas falls in the middle of Cyclone and Bushfire seasons. Cyclone Tracy swept in and demolished Darwin in 1974. New South Wales fought the Black Christmas Bushfires in 2001. Australians love their cars and water, but the road toll and drownings leave shattered lives, and hopes, and dreams. And families find themselves breaking apart by arguments.
To many people December 25 was just another day. William of Normandy aka William the Conqueror was crowned king of England (1066) and Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor (800). George Washington crossed the Delaware and defeated 1400 Hessians (1776). Prince-regent Hirohito becomes Emperor of Japan (1926). In 1989 the Romanian dictator, Ceausescu, was executed.
When I think of Christmas, I often think of other countries, cultures, and religions and wonder what they think of Christmas and what their equivalent is. I know some Christian sects celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany in January. I know Muslims recognises Jesus Christ as a Prophet, even if they don't celebrate Christmas as we do. (Perhaps they celebrate the birth of Muhammad? I don't know and I am not ashamed to admit ignorance. I like to think they do, and Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's birth and life in some way.)
So instead of wishing people a 'Merry Christmas' I am going to start wishing 'Seasons Blessings'.