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“…It’s Tradition”: Keeping the “Why” Alive this Christmas (Part 2)

Posted by Laura Ankrom on

By Brandi Murr

For the second part of this two-part Christmas traditions blog, we will look at ways we can use our traditions to both share Christ with others and remind ourselves of his presence and impact on our own lives.

3. Point others to Christ.

We have so many Christmas traditions that point to Christ!  Why do we use holly? The sharp leaves and red berries remind us of the crown of thorns that Jesus would wear for us. Why do we hang evergreen wreaths? The unchanging nature of the evergreen paired with the shape of a circle reminds us that God is eternal and unchanging. Red and green are the colors of Christmas for a reason. Stars and angels, which abound during the Christmas season, come directly from the events in the Christmas story. 

One of the biggest elements of Christmas is the giving of gifts. Why do we give gifts at Christmas? Traditionally, it stems from the gifts of the magi: the wise men who visited the newborn Jesus. They gave valuable gifts to the baby king, but the gold, frankincense, and myrrh were not the greatest gifts given that first Christmas. You see, the most extraordinarily extravagant gift ever given came to us from an ordinary family in a borrowed stable, and he was placed humbly in an animal feeding trough.

As you celebrate and give gifts to your loved ones this year, don’t forget to point them to the greatest gift ever given – the love of God!

4.  Remember Christ’s impact in your life.

Christmas is about celebrating the birth and gift of Jesus; this is his story. But please don’t miss that this story is about you too! Why did he lay aside his power to be born as a baby human? Because he loves you and it was the only way to pave you a path to eternity with God. The story of Christmas is a love story about Jesus – the Christ, the Messiah – and YOU.

I have a 7-year-old who loves to hear the same stories over and over again. Why? Mainly, it’s because those stories are about her – “Tell me the story about the day I was born.” “Tell me the story about my birthday cake that Mimi made me.” But I believe that as she gets older and more fully understands them, these stories take on more meaning for her. Sometimes it can be tiring to tell the same story over and over, but not to her; to her, it is still fresh and exciting.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record the story of Jesus blessing the children after telling his disciples, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14 ESV). This year, I would encourage you to approach Christmas with the heart of a child. Ask God to tell you his love story over and over again. See the candy canes, candles, wreaths, poinsettias, bells, Santa Clauses, trees, and especially the gifts as reminders of God’s ridiculously extravagant love and the gift of Christ.

Can you imagine planning a gift for years, and for it to cost you everything? What would you do if you gave the gift and the recipient wouldn’t accept it or even open it? That is almost unbelievable and yet, that is what many people do with the gift of Jesus. Be a child this year with the gift of his love. Be excited, rip it open and claim it as yours!

There are so many reminders of Christ during this season.  “Why Do We Call it Christmas,” is a great resource to start this journey. It was geared for kids, but any adult can enjoy and learn from it.  With a little research you can find the stories behind poinsettias, Santa Claus aka St. Nikolas, candy canes, candles, bells, oranges in stockings, Kings Cake and much, much more.

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