Awww… Christmas time is in the air, our trees are up, presents tucked neatly under, our homes smell like candy canes and are lit up like the 4th of July. Isn’t Christmas time just wonderful? Well, most of the time it is.
It is wonderful, but why do we do it? No not, why do we celebrate it, we know the Reason for the Season is Jesus. But why do we decorate the way we do? Why do we put up a tree? Why do we eat or decorate with candy canes? Why do we give and wrap gifts with bows? Is there a significance to the colors green and red? What about wreaths, mistletoe, and tinsel…
why are these things everywhere during Christmas time?
Believe it or not, the things that we decorate with for Christmas are more than just pretty but are intended to be a reminder of why we’re celebrating. Everything from the tree to the presents to candy canes and mistletoe!
Honestly, Christmas trees get a bad rap. I’ve met people in the past that refused to have a Christmas tree or celebrate Christmas because of them being “Pagan.” Which, they are correct, evergreens have been used for centuries in Pagan traditions but the concept of a Christmas tree as we know it was actually birthed by Martin Luther in the 16th century. The story goes that Martin Luther was taking an evening stroll through the forest to think about his upcoming sermon. During this walk, Luther looked up through the trees and was in awe at the beauty of the stars glistening through the branches of the trees. To recapture this for his family, he cut down an evergreen and put it in his living room, then he wired up candles in the branches to recreate the stars.
He then said that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth on Christmas.
A piece of candy that you can’t get enough of during the holidays, now they come in every flavor imaginable, including rotisserie chicken and clam… yuck! Despite the taste and nostalgia that comes with eating a candy cane, there’s a lot there to remind us of the reason for the season. First, if we look at the shape of a candy cane, it is in the shape of a hook, a shepherd’s hook to be exact. This is because Jesus is often called the Good Shepherd and He was born to gather His lambs and bring them home. A traditional candy cane is red and white, the red represents the blood that Jesus will shed on the cross so that we will be saved. The white stands for His purity.
After you’ve pulled the tree out of the box (or went and cut it down) you stand it up, untangle sixteen miles of Christmas lights, string it, place your ornaments and garland, what’s the very last thing you do? Most of us will place the star on top of the tree very last to signify it is finished! Did you know that we put a star on top to represent the star of Bethlehem that the wise men followed to find baby Jesus?
Gifts & Bows
When we think of Christmas, usually our first thought is gifts.. whether it’s something we hope to get or something we hope to give to someone else, our mind goes to gifts. Surprisingly enough, this is biblical… well sort of. In the bible story, the wise men show up with gifts for baby Jesus. The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas stems from these wise men, the importance of Christmas is in the giving gifts and not receiving them.
The bow-tied around a gift represents how people should be together in unity. The red and green colors represent the blood of Jesus and everlasting light and life. Wreaths are made circular to be a symbol of love and rebirth. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, meaning it lives and relies on the tree it lives on. Without the tree, the Mistletoe would die. We like the mistletoe rely on Christ to live,
without Him and His sacrifice we would surely die.
Most traditional things we do around Christmas have some significance. Can you think of any I didn’t mention? Or can you make up some for your own family like Martin Luther did with the tree? Share them in the Facebook group!