The Christmas Traditions-What do they mean and symbolize.

The roots of decorations and traditions.

Have you ever heard someone say it just a tree, it means nothing, at Christmas time? I have and it drives me nuts! Most of what we see at this time of year has a Spiritual meaning behind it. In this hub I will try to reveal the real meaning of our Christmas Traditions.

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Christmas Trees- The evergeen symbolizes Jesus' divinity. He is human but forever God as well, unlike other humans. Unlike other trees the pine is forever green and never looses its leaves. It is always green. Jesus is always without blemish unlike the rest of us. And his LOVE never dies or falls off!

Lights-Since the tree symbolizes Christ, lights are strung around it. They symbolize us. we are called to be "the light of the world" and to unite around Jesus, drawing greater attention to him, for all too see! He is the way,the truth and the light. Through him we come to the Father and His Grace. Through us, others can find Christ!

Stars and Angels- An Angel went to the shepherds, and the 3 kings followed the star. They are placed on the top of the tree because they were how one found Jesus on the night he was Born!

Christmas Wreaths- In Ancient Rome, the soldiers would return from battle to see an evergreen wreath hung on people's homes as a sign of victory. In Germany, people made and burned evergreen wreaths as a sign of hope for the future. Christians use wreaths to symbolize both. The Christmas Wreath on one's door is put there to say that Jesus is hope and He is victory, both at the same time!

Gifts- These symbolize the greatest gift, that God The Father ever gave mankind!

The Colors of Christmas-

Gold- The gift given by one of The Three Wisemen. A sacrifice that enabled Josef and Mary to feed and raise Jesus. God will provide, sometimes through our fellows!

Red- Symbolizes the blood that He shed for us!

Green- His everlasting and undying love for us!

White- His and Mary's purity!

We should decorate to remember Him and who he was. When we do, we then have the best Christmas of all...the true one!

May you and yours have the best and fullest of all Christmas' this year!

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Comments 9 comments

kayecandles profile image

kayecandles 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Christmas is different for everyone, but it is a season for all Christians to remember the birth of Christ and rejoice in the fact he came to earth.


lcg4jc profile image

lcg4jc 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this with us. While many say Christmas is pagan in its origin, the fact of the matter still remains that Christians have taken this time of the year to commemorate the birth of Christ. Throughout the years we have not intertwined but changed its meaning completely and its purpose is to glorify God and His Gift of Messiah. The advent wreath is another beautiful reminder of this season and a beautiful way for one's family to stay connected to a Christian's belief of Christmas.

Thank you once again, these traditions are indeed special in their content and meaninful in their presentation.

God bless you and yours

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year


Errol Kane 5 years ago

MikeSyrSutton 3 weeks ago, you wrote:

very insightful! Please check out my hub on the loaves and fishes.

You invited me here sir to your Hubs but I was interested in what you had to say about christmas, a holiday I used to celebrate years ago as I did all holidays until I stopped.

However, the Christmas season is here. What does that mean to you, your family, and your associates? Is it a spiritual occasion, or is it only a festive and merry period? Is it a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ or not to be concerned about Christian norms?

In considering those questions, bear in mind that Christmas traditions may differ according to where you live. For instance, in Mexico and other Latin-American countries, even the name is different. One encyclopedia points out that the English name Christmas "is derived from the medieval Christes Masse, the Mass of Christ." However, La Navidad, or the Nativity, as it is called in these Latin-American lands, refers to the nativity, or birth, of Christ. Take a moment to consider some details from Mexico. This may help you to shape your own opinion about this holiday season.

The Posadas, "the Three Wise Men," and the Nacimiento

The festivities begin on December 16 with the posadas. The book Mexico's Feasts of Life comments: "It is the time of the posadas, nine magical days leading up to Christmas Eve, which commemorate the lonely wandering of Joseph and Mary in the city of Bethlehem and the moment when they at last found kindness and shelter. Families and friends gather together nightly to reenact the days preceding the birth of Christ."

Traditionally, a group of people carries images of Mary and Joseph to a home and in song asks for shelter, or posada. Those in the house sing in reply until the visitors are finally given admittance. Then begins a party, where some—blindfolded and with a stick in hand—take turns trying to break the piñata, a large decorated earthenware pot that hangs from a cord. Once broken, its contents (candy, fruit, and the like) are gathered by the celebrants. This is followed by food, drinks, music, and dancing. Eight posada parties are held from December 16 through December 23. On the 24th, Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) is celebrated, and families make an effort to be together for a special dinner.

Before long comes New Year's Day, celebrated with very noisy parties. On the evening of January 5, the Tres Reyes Magos ("three wise men") are supposed to bring toys for the children. The climax is a party on January 6, when a rosca de Reyes (ring-shaped cake) is served. As this pastry is eaten, somebody will find in his piece a little doll representing the baby Jesus. The finder is obliged to organize and host a final party on February 2. (In some places there are three little dolls, representing "the three wise men.") As you can see, the partying in connection with Christmas goes on and on.

During this period, the nacimiento (Nativity scene) is quite prominent. What is involved in this? Well, in public areas as well as in churches and homes, scenes are set up with figures (large or small) made out of ceramic, wood, or clay. They represent Joseph and Mary kneeling before a manger that holds a newborn baby. Often there are shepherds and Los Reyes Magos ("the wise men"). The setting is a stable, and some animals may round out the scene. The central figure, however, is that of a newborn baby, called in Spanish el Niño Dios (the Child God). This key figure may be placed there on Christmas Eve.

A Closer Look at Nativity Traditions

Concerning the Christmas celebration as it is generally known all over the world, The Encyclopedia Americana says: "Most of the customs now associated with Christmas were not originally Christmas customs but rather were pre-Christian and non-Christian customs taken up by the Christian church. Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles."

In Latin America, those basic Nativity customs may be followed, along with additional ones. 'From what source,' you might wonder. Frankly, many who want to adhere to the Bible recognize that some customs are nothing but Aztec rites. El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico City, commented: "Friars from different orders took advantage of the fact that festivities of the Indian ritual calendar coincided with the Catholic liturgical calendar, so they used this to support their evangelizing and missionary work. They replaced the commemorations to the pre-Hispanic divinities with festivities to Christian divinities, introduced European festivities and activities, and also took advantage of the Indian festivities, which resulted in a cultural syncretism from which authentically Mexican expressions have arisen."

SOME WOULD BE SURPRISED

In his book The Trouble With Christmas, author Tom Flynn set out conclusions reached after years spent researching Christmas:

"An enormous number of traditions we now associate with Christmas have their roots in pre-Christian pagan religious traditions. Some of these have social, sexual, or cosmological connotations that might lead educated, culturally sensitive moderns to discard the traditions once they have understood their roots more clearly." Page 19

After presenting a mass of supporting information, Flynn returns to the basic point: "One of the great ironies of Christmas is how little of its content is truly Christian. Once we dispose of the pre-Christian elements, most of what remains is post-Christian, rather than authentically Christian, in origin." Page 155.

The Encyclopedia Americana explains: "Nativity plays early became a part of the Christmas celebration . . . The representation in church of the crèche [the manger scene] is said to have been begun by Saint Francis." These plays featuring the birth of Christ were performed in the churches during the beginning of the colonization of Mexico. They were organized by Franciscan monks in order to teach the Indians about the Nativity. Later the posadas became more popular. Whatever the original intention behind them, the way the posadas are held today speaks for itself. If you are in Mexico during this season, you can see or sense something that a writer for El Universal highlighted in his comment: "The posadas, which were a way to remind us of the pilgrimage of Jesus' parents looking for a shelter where the Child God could be born, are today only days of drunkenness, excesses, gluttony, vanities, and more and more crime."

The idea of the nacimiento emerged during Colonial times from the original live representations in churches. While some find it attractive, does it correctly represent what the Bible says? That is a valid question. When the so-called three wise men—who in fact were astrologers—visited, Jesus and his family were no longer living in a stable. Time had passed, and the family was living in a house. You will find it interesting to note this detail in the inspired record at Matthew 2:1, 11. You can also note that the Bible does not say how many astrologers there were.

In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honesthearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?

Christmas, or the Nativity, was not celebrated by early Christians. One encyclopedia says about this: "The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth." The Bible links


Marie Moreton 5 years ago

Thank you for shareing this information Mike. I my christmas decorations and ornaments represent the true meaning of Christmas. God bless you


I am Sam 4 years ago

What does a writh signify. ?? Is this a x mass tradition of just for the winter holidays in general


MikeSyrSutton profile image

MikeSyrSutton 4 years ago from An uncharted galaxy Author

Wow "I am Sam", GREAT question! I am sorry that I left the wreath out! Here is the answer. In Ancient Rome, the soldiers would return from battle to see an evergreen wreath hung on people's homes as a sign of victory. In Germany, people made and burned evergreen wreaths as a sign of hope for the future. Christians use wreaths to symbolize both. The Christmas Wreath on one's door is put there to say that Jesus is hope and He is victory, both at the same time.

Thanks for such an awesome question!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 24 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Wow! I had no idea until reading this marvelous hub how the traditions of Christmas have such a significant meaning.

Thanks so much for this wonderful information. I will certainly appreciate these symbols more from now on. Voted up and across except for funny and will share as well.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 24 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I enjoy Christmas and its traditions. I wish I can celebrate all of them especially Advent. I am amazed at how little we know now of the deeper meaning of these Christmas practices.


MikeSyrSutton profile image

MikeSyrSutton 24 months ago from An uncharted galaxy Author

Thank you Vcoach! You made my day!

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