Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More thoughts on celebrating Christmas

I think this is the last post I will be making about my choice to celebrate Christmas...  Since I started looking at the origins and symbols of the holiday, I've found I have many friends who have, after studying the same material, chosen not to celebrate.  I understand and respect their choice and appreciate their concerns and insights and reasoning.  For myself, however, I've come to the conclusion that I can assign my own personal symbolism to Christmas and the decorations I choose to use in my home.  As long as it reminds me of my Savior and helps me to mindfully draw near unto Him in a personal relationship then it is a good symbol for me.  I've been long taught that ALL things testify of Him... if we look for that meaning. We ask people not to judge us based on our past, because it is the past and not who we are any longer.  That's what I choose to do with my Christmas celebration.

Long before Christ's birth, in the Old Testament we find prophecies of his coming and the light it will bring to the world.  Isaiah  chapter 9:
2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
In John chapter 1, we read of this coming true:
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
 To me, all of the strings of lights both inside and out, can be symbols of this truth.  They serve to remind me to keep Jesus Christ as the light of my life.  Also appropriate to this thought would be candles placed on the table.

I think I've decided to look to the triangular shape of the evergreen to create my symbol for Christmas.  It's like an arrow, pointing us heavenward... toward God.

As we go about decorating the tree, wouldn't it be a sweet tradition to use the ornaments to tell the familiar story of Jesus' humble birth?  Perhaps placing them on the tree as Lake chapter 2 is read aloud.

Candy canes could symbolize the shepherd's staff during verse 8.  Ornaments made like angels added at verse 10.  Trumpets with verses 15-17 as they made known abroad the miracle they had just witnessed.  Heart shaped ornaments at verse 19 to remind us to be like Mary and keep Him in our hearts and ponder His teachings there.  And doves, a symbol of  sacrifice, at 24.  And pictures of Him at verse 26 (watch for a great craft idea in the coming days!).

Does that not sound like a simple and lovely tree and a wonderful family tradition?  Especially if the gifts we give each other are also representative of the ultimate gift He gave each of us?

Yes, I will still celebrate but it's going to be scaled back.  And I will work to make my focus remembering and serving Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, every day of the year.

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