A place of writing and reflection…
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.
December is here and Christmas is well on it’s way!
So far I’ve watched people scurry in mass crowds for the infamous Black Friday sales, and then there were Cyber Monday deals filling my inbox the following week. My husband and I spent one night watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and I took apart an old book in order to make a small Christmas Tree as our small lodge room doesn’t quite have the space for a regular tree. Even our neighbors have set up their Christmas lights which I drive by often.
There are dinners being planned and busier than ever schedules has the holiday draws ever nearer. With all of this we could all use to remind ourselves what this season is really about.
It’s not so much about the presents, gifts, or Santa even as most of us already know. For the Christian, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, our Savior. We’re celebrating the beginning of a life that was promised centuries before for the salvation of a sinful mankind.
Of course with this holiday comes much symbolism.
Often we see characters like the Grinch, Santa, and Rudolph. Nativities are a fairly common site. Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, snowflakes and Christmas trees are also common place. Surprisingly many of these have pagan roots.
Holly and mistletoe were used by ancient Druids and Norseman for both pagan worship and protection from evil. The poinsettia finds place in Mexican legend with some Catholic roots. Even our beloved Christmas tree has pagan roots. A tree was usually brought into the family home so spirits had a warm place during the winter. Decorations on the tree served the spirits that may have inhabited the tree. It wasn’t until much later that our holly and trees began to be used by Christians as a form of ministry during the Christmas season.
At least one Christmas symbol, however, doesn’t seem to have changed in it’s meaning over the years. This is the candy cane; a confection invented by candy maker that wanted to honor Christ’s birth.
The candy maker used a hard candy to represent how the church was to be built on Solid Rock (another name for Jesus). He then formed it in the shape of a shepherd’s staff—or a J for Jesus if turned upside down—to show remind that Christ is the ‘Good Shepherd’. The white of the candy symbolized Jesus’ purity and virgin birth. There small red stripes represented the scourging Christ endured before carrying the cross while one large red stripe represent the payment for sin He made on the cross.
While candy canes may come in a variety of flavors and even colors, the original meaning of the sweet confection still stands as a reminder of the real meaning of CHRISTmas—and not the Black Friday Sales.
Copyright The Faithbook 2012