What Do Our Christmas Traditions Symbolize?
Are you prepared for Christmas? Most of us are decorating, purchasing gifts, and baking our favorite holiday cookies by now. We are all getting ready for the big day.
I thought that I would take a break for a minute or two and share what our Christmas traditions symbolize. I hope that you will gain insight and joy, as you read why and how some of these very familiar traditions were started.
The Traditional Christmas Colors
The two traditional Christmas colors are red and green. The color red represents the blood that Christ shed as he hung and died on the cross.
Green represents the everlasting life that we have access to because of Jesus’s death.
1 Peter 1:3
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
The Christmas Tree
Most Christmas Trees are evergreen. These trees can remain green in the most brutal of winters. This represents hope. No matter what life throws at you when you know Christ there is hope. Hope for the now and hope for the future. There is a story that says: when Christ was born the trees started to shake and snow fell from every tree and they all remained green, symbolizing that you can survive the most difficult of seasons. The tree also represents the cross that Christ hung on.
12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
The wreaths represent eternal love and rebirth which gives us eternal life.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 5:11
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
The star represents the bright star that appeared when Christ was born.
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The bells ring during Christmas to announce the birth of Christ.
The Red And White Candy Canes
Candy Canes represents the shepherd’s crook. Jesus was the Good Shepherd. With his birth lost lambs could be bought back into the fold.
The color red in the candy cane represents the blood Christ shed on the cross. The white represents purity. Christ was holy and without blemish.
1 John 3:3-5
3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
The poinsettia lives through the winter months and is actually known as the Christmas flower. Their beautiful bright red color represents the blood of Christ and the shape of each flower is shaped like a star representing the star of Bethlehem.
The Holly Berries
Holly berries have leaves that are very prickly representing the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’s head. The red color of the berries represents the blood he shed on the cross.
The gifts that we give at Christmas, represents the gifts that the Wise Men brought to baby Jesus when they went to visit him. Gifts also represents, the gift that God gave to the world when he sent his one and only Son to die a cruel death, so that we may have eternal life.
11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Ornaments were originally apples that were hung on the tree symbolizing the forbidden fruit. This was started in Germany around the 16th century. Later ornaments became representative of a family’s interest, such as hobbies etc.. Today they are mainly for decoration.
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant. Parasitic plants live on what they become attached to. Mistletoes are attached to trees, and without the tree the mistletoe would die. Just as the mistletoe is dead apart from the tree, we are dead apart from Christ. For this reason, the mistletoe has become the symbol of love.
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The Lights And Candles
Lights and candles are symbolic of Jesus being the Light of the world. Apart from Jesus there would only be darkness.
May your Christmas be merry and bright, and may you hold close to your heart the reason for this season, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ!
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
1 John 1:5
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.