We just finished Thanksgiving and now comes Christmas, the most celebrated holiday in all the world. What I find most interesting about Christmas are the traditions that are so natural about the season. Everything from the colors, to the decorations, and Santa Claus. Over these next few weeks, we will examine these traditions and discover their origins and discern how they can point us to worshipping Christ.
Christmas is generally thought of as a Christian holiday. However, for the first 1800 years after Christ’s life, his birth was not celebrated like it is now. The December holiday season was filled with pagan rituals and traditions that celebrated the end of the winter solstice and the coming of sunnier, longer days. The church and governments in the last 200 years have fought to redeem these celebrations.
The colors of Christmas: green, red, and gold, do not have a definite explanation for being the colors of the season. There is no record of someone deciding these should be the colors, but the historic symbolism that they carry do define Christmas well.
The color green has an ancient history of mystery and life. “Ancient cultures observed the fir trees and holly bushes growing in the midst of the harshest winters and were fascinated. When all other plants had died or grown barren, the people of the woods believed that some type of magical power had to be fueling these evergreens’ survival.” In time, holly and its green color came to be linked with Christ’s birth.
“While holly leaves are always green, ancient civilizations were probably more fascinated by the red berries that sprang forth. How could this plant not only live but also produce fruit when no other plants could?” Since the green represented Christ’s life, the red would represent Christ’s death. “The red berries that appeared when everything in the world seemed dead represented the blood of Christ and the eternal life that could belong to anyone who chose to accept the Lord as Savior.” The red represents the reason Christ came to earth.
Lastly, the color gold. Gold seems to be the most naturally associated color with Jesus because one of the gifts he received at his birth was gold from the wise men. Gold was always representative of light. As Jesus is our bright star shining light in the darkness, he is our hope of eternal life.
I hope as you decorate your home and see these colors spewed around town that you would remember Jesus’ life, death, and promise of life for you.
Spend your quiet time reading through Luke 2:1-21. Read it as a detective, searching for something new.
Pastor Michael Covey
“For to us a child is born.” Isaiah 9:6
I gleaned the majority of this information from the book Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, by Ace Collins. If you are interested in learning more, it is a great read.
Collins, Ace. Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan, 2007.
When All Seems to Crumble
Decorations of Christmas
Colors of Christmas
The Holy Spirit Fills You
The Son Denies Himself To Give You Life
Thank the Father
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
"Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
"name of the Father and of the Son and of Holy Spirit
Of All Nations
"Go and Make"
Why Were We Created?
Spiritual Discipline of Celebration
Spiritual Discipline of Confession
Spiritual Discipline of Silence and Solitude
Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity
Spiritual Discipline of Fasting
Spiritual Discipline of Meditation
Freedom, part 3.
Freedom, part 2.
Fear, part 4.
Fear, part 3.
Fear, part 2.
Fear, part 1.
God is for you.
Hold on to the truth