Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

Evergreen Tree     Santa Claus     Presents      Bows     Bells            Holly            Ivy

The Evergreen Tree is a symbol of life everlasting, of eternal life, life that is always green because it is fed by the living waters (John 4:13-14; 7:37-38) that are through Jesus Christ. The evergreen tree is a Tree, just as the Cross which Jesus chose to die on was a tree.  Galatians 3:13-14 says "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. (Deuteronomy 21:23)" He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

        And so it is that we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ in remembrance of His purpose for coming down to earth from heaven, which was to die on the tree, or cross for your sins and mine. When you see and evergreen tree, it may remind you of God the Father's great love for you in sending His Son Jesus to earth for us. (John 3:16) And the tree may also remind you that Jesus Christ's love for you is great enough to take away all of your sins by His death on the cross, or tree.

Santa Claus is the name of Nicholas of Myra who lived over 1500 years ago. Nicholas was a preacher, teacher and bishop in the Church. Nicholas was a very generous and selfless giver. Throughout the area of Myra, he was known for his caring and love of those less fortunate. After his death, Nicholas of Myra was canonized, or declared by the Church, a Saint. This meant that the church recognized that Nicholas was a righteous man of God. (Ephesians 1:15-23) In the 1800's many immigrants who came to the U.S.A. heard of the tradition of St. Nicholas during Christmas time and they pronounced it "Santa Niclaus", and many people then heard and repeated it as "Santa Claus". That is also how he got the name "St. Nick", for St. Nicholas.

        So when we celebrate Christmas, and bring in Santa Claus, it is the symbol of Jesus' selfless giving of Himself. For Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, came down from His throne as a baby. Was born in a stable and then placed in a manger. No inn for Him, no silk sheets. Quietly, with His mother Mary, and stepfather Joseph. Jesus came with the purpose of healing the sick and the deaf hear, giving sight to the blind, cleaning the lepers, teaching and preaching to the multitudes, and proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven is near, and much much more! And then after giving all of this to us, Jesus died on the Cross-for your sins and mine. (1Peter 2:24) What an unselfish God we have! Merry Christ-mas!

Presents are what people give each other traditionally. The first present for Christmas was Jesus Christ, Himself. God the Father was, and still is, the Giver, Jesus is the Gift or Present, and you and I are the recipients of the Present. If we choose to open the Present and take it in to ourselves, then we have truly not only received the Present, but have received Eternal Life as well! "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Says Jesus in Revelation 3:20. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (Romans 5:18, 2 Corinthians 9:15)

Bows are the concluding portion of the package of love and gratitude which we give to someone. Christmas presents are usually wrapped and decorated with ribbon or string, and tied into bows to seal the gift. These decorations invite the receiver to open the gift of love. God the Father does this with us. Hosea 11:4 says "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love." God draws us near to Him by His kindness and love through other Christians and in His other creations. God Almighty is always drawing us near to Himself, so to be able to reveal His precious Son who also loves us so much! (John 12:32, Psalm 73:28)

        So when you string your bows onto your Christmas present, or see bows displayed on Christmas packages, you may remember the Lord God is calling to you, wanting to draw you near to Himself out of His Loving Kindness!

Bells that jingle, songs we sing about bells, and the sound of ringing bells all come from the ordination of the Lord, which is written of in Exodus 28and 39. He specifically speaks about the clothing of the priests who were to offer the sacrifices for the sins of the Israelites. "And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make …and bells of gold between them round about. … A golden bell…upon the hem of the robe round about…the hem of the robe to minister in; as the Lord commanded Moses."

        When the bells rang, then the people knew that the sacrifice was accepted by the Lord, and that the people's sins were forgiven. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, Jesus was the acceptable sacrifice, the pure atonement for the sins committed each and every person. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1 (Romans 5:11, Hebrews 10:10-14)

        In Leviticus 25:10 "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." So when you hear the bells pealing from the Church spires, listen well. Is it the Lord God telling you to rejoice in the freedom from your sins? That Jesus has atoned for your sins on the Cross because you have accepted His Son's free gift of Salvation? Praise be to God!!

Holly is an evergreen bush or tree that bears little red berries by December. Its leaves are shiny green with a beautiful shape that has thorns all along the edges. The tradition of having holly garlands around Christmas time started in the 1600's.  Holly is to remind us that the Beauty of Salvation does not come without the Pain of Sacrifice. The thorns on the leaf represent the crown of thorns which Christ wore as he hung on the tree. The red berries are to represent the blood of Christ which was shed for our sins. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Romans 5:8,9 So when we gaze upon the beautiful holly wreath, let us remember that it is evergreen, for the freshness and faithfulness of God's Love for us!

Ivy is a lovely evergreen vine that is known for clinging to whatever it is near. The tradition of ivy during Christmas time started around 400 years ago. Ivy is to represent Jesus who sticks closer to us than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) So when you are in trouble, or lonely, just gaze upon the evergreen ivy plant and be comforted by the fact that Jesus' love is always alive for you, and that He stick closer to you than a best friend! "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for (helping in) adversity." Proverbs 17:17

May your Christmas be blessed by being with Him and with your other treasured loved ones!  

May God Bless you with His Love!  Merry Christmas!

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