CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS AND WHAT THEY MEAN

Bob Krepps  

Christmas Tree - Symbolizes that Jesus Christ came as the second Adam to restore access to the "Tree of Life".  It is a symbol of Christ the source of eternal life.  Boniface, an 8th century missionary to the Germans, bravely chopped down the sacred oak of the god Thor and replaced it with a fir tree dedicated to the Christ child.  He taught "you are a light of the world, an evergreen tree, if you renounce idolatry."  It wasn't until much later that it became used indoors.  Martin Luther cut a small fir tree, set it up in his home and placed candles on it to represent the stars on the night of Christ's birth.  He did this as an illustration to his children.  Evergreens - represent life and eternal life that Jesus came to bring.

Lights - acknowledges that Christmas is celebrating the coming of the light of the world (Jesus Christ).

Christmas Wreaths - are primarily a recognition of the crucifixion of Jesus.  They represent the crown of thorns placed on Christ's head.  Red berries represent drops of blood.  Wreaths are placed on the door or in a window of a house to represent that Christ has entered that home and has a place of honor there.

Christmas Bells - Celebrate the good news of the birth of Christ.  In medieval times bells tolled a somber and eerie toll to symbolize the destruction of the devil.  At midnight the sound of the bells changed to a joyful sound of victory announcing the birth of Jesus the King and His triumph.

Candles - a symbol that Christ is the light of the world.  Fire is also a symbol of Christ and the Holy Spirit and cleansing from sin.

Singing Christmas Carols - On the first Christmas the Angels sang "Glory to God in the Highest".  Carols are always joyous and celebrate the birth of Christ.

Gift Giving - the magi brought gifts to the Christ Child.  We give gifts to each other as a response to all the gifts that God has given us.  Most purchases at Christmas time are gifts that are given to others.  A wonderful way to celebrate God's gifts to us.

Candy Canes - A candy maker in Indiana invented the  "candy cane" to witness to the birth, death and ministry of Jesus.  He began with hard white candy.  White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Christ.  Hard to represent the solid rock of Jesus and His promises.  The shape is a "J" to represent the name of Jesus and the staff of the Good Shepherd.  The thin red stripes represent the scourging that Jesus received.  The large red stripe symbolizes the blood shed on the cross for us.

Santa Claus - most of what we have today has developed from myth.  But the origin is based on a real person, Nicholas.  He was born in the Asia Minor city of Patras in the early 4th century and was the Bishop of Myra (in southwestern Turkey).  He had a strong Christian faith, which showed itself in his love for people.  He was known for giving gifts, especially to poor women and children and prisoners.

Permission is granted to use this for personal use. 

Written by Bob Krepps  1990 all rights reserved

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