By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Many of our Christmas traditions are biblically based, either directly or as a representation of the Christmas story.
Gifts, whether large or small, handmade or purchased, are tokens of the love or warm regards we have for others. They were present at the first Christmas, first and foremost in God’s greatest gift to mankind, his Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV). Secondly Jesus received precious gifts. “…And when they had opened their treasures, they presented him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11, KJV). The gift bow can represent how we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill.
Taking a prominent place in many homes is the Nativity, which represents the manger where Jesus was born. “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.” (Luke 2:7, KJV).
Music is a large part of most celebrations. And so at Christmas we sing carols! The Christmas carolers represent the multitude of angels that sang on the night Jesus was born. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest….’” (Luke 2:13-14, KJV).
The Christmas story in Luke tells of the shepherds doing their job, which was tending the sheep, and being the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth.
Representing the shepherds’ crook, which is used to bring lambs back into the fold, is the candy cane. Both are a reminder that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are all our brothers’ keepers. “And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8, KJV). Some say the red stripes represent the blood of Jesus, the white stripes are for his purity, and the cane turned around is for the “J” of Jesus. As well, red is the color of Christmas and holly berries used in holiday decorations. The second color of Christmas is evergreen, representing everlasting life, and the color of most of the trees which we decorate for the season.
The bells of Christmas are a call to mankind to worship the newborn King. Oftentimes bells are also used to locate that which is missing.
The wreath is a symbol of the never ending eternal nature of Christ, no beginning or end.
The star tops many family Christmas trees and may be more in our conscience this year due to the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem” lighting the 2020 sky. “Where is the new born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2, KJV). Also providing light in the darkness, we light our Christmas candles, mirroring starlight reflection and that Jesus brought light into the world. “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:70, KJV).
May we all take the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas this season, especially at the end of this very unique and trying year. Wishing you and yours Christmas blessings and a healthy, happy New Year.