This time of year is full of so many different foods, feelings, traditions, and customs. We may not all celebrate the same way but we all celebrate a season of love, joy, peace, thankfulness, family and friends. Christmas time is my favorite season, it always has been. I think it is so amazing how much energy we put into a single season. We pack so many activities, food, shopping, decorating, concerts, caroling, baking and parties into this wonderful time of year. Although the hustle and bustle is exciting and fun it is also so easy to lose the actual meaning why we do what we do during this time of year. Traditions are one of those things that make this season so special. Traditions are filled with memories that live on and give us a way of connecting to the past.
We start our Christmas season with one of my favorite Christmas traditions of cutting our own tree down. We always go on thanksgiving weekend and head to a tree farm and we a choose that one special tree. We are fans of really BIG trees so we always find the biggest one. That same night we turn on our Christmas music and trim the tree with lights and ornaments. When it is all done we turn all the lights off in the house and we sit and just gaze at the beauty of the tree. Ok well maybe it’s just me that sits and gazes at the tree but nonetheless the tree is always breathtaking. I absolutely love the atmosphere that is created by the twinkle of a simple little light. There are so many traditions and customs that we do during this season and for the most part we really have no clue the history of it. Well as I studied the history of the Christmas lights I learned a few things.
Looking through the history of the “Christmas lights” it is very amazing to me the correlation and symbolic meaning they have. As with many of the things that we traditionally do during the holidays questions come to mind….why do we do what we do for Christmas? Why do I get a tree? Why do I cover my tree with pretty lights? Why red and green? What is the purpose or meaning of all the decorations. We live in a world full of customs and traditions but very little ever seek out to find the origin. For centuries people have been celebrating this season with lights. First off, evergreen trees have been a part of the celebration of winter since they are the only tree that still breathe life and color during the dead of winter. They used these trees as remembrance that spring and new life is coming. Holly and poinsettias are also plants that show off their beauty during the winter months, hence red and green. As far as lights, before electricity people would place candles on their tree held by pins or melted wax. They could only burn the candles for a short period of time due to the fire hazard. Christians also placed candles in their windows for all to see and show other Christians that they are welcome in their home to worship with them. Now we have come a long way from candles and pins but many of us still utilize some sort of lights during this season. The purpose of the lights was not only to make the tree look pretty but it was symbolic of the “light of the world”. God sent His son to save us and be our Light. The beauty is in the twinkle of His little light. The star that many of us place at the top of our tree symbolizes the star that led the wise men to Jesus.
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
God gave them a light to follow to find the Savior of the world. The decorations of red on the tree is symbolic of the blood of Christ. God sent His only son to be born of a virgin to save all mankind and to die on a tree for all our sins.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Now if you ask me the Christmas tree is an amazing symbol of all God has given to us. This Christmas as you enjoy your own family traditions may we not forget why we do what we do. May you be reminded as you sit down and gaze at your beautiful Christmas tree that Jesus is the center of all that we celebrate during this wonderful and magical season. God sent His son to be our Light in this dark world to die a death on a tree and cover us with his blood to cover our sins. It all started with one little twinkle and as we accept His love we are yet another twinkle for the world to see.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
May all your traditions during this time of year be full of love, joy, peace and memories, but may we not forget the history or the origins of what we do during this wonderful season. Our traditions connect us to our history and our one history that everyone shares and has in common is that God sent his son for ALL of mankind.
Lord, I pray this season during all the wonderful craziness of this season that we are in constant remembrance why we celebrate this season and that the heart of all we do is focused on you. May the twinkle of your light shine in us for all to see. Thank you for the best gift ever of your son Jesus and may we pass along your gift to everyone around us. Amen