Bright lights, evergreen wreaths and a jolly old Santa are just some of the symbols people associate with the Christmas season. The images of a tree filled with glittering lights and beautifully wrapped gifts underneath represent the season and focus for many people, while the true meaning of Christmas fades away.
Why We Celebrate Christmas
The origin story of Christmas follows the story of the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mother, who was called to the town of Bethlehem to participate in a census. But when she and her husband arrived, there was no room for them at the local inn. Instead, they stayed the night in a stable, where Jesus came into this world. The beginning of His life in such a humble place represented humility and how Jesus had come to Earth not to rule, but to seek and save the lost.
What Is The Cultural Meaning Of Christmas?
Aside from its religious significance, Christmas is a holiday with great meaning in society. It is seen as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. The Christmas season is a time to express one’s love to everyone from close friends and family to those who are less fortunate. Gifts are exchanged to show appreciation for those we care about.
Along with this, many families also have important traditions that are connected with the meaning of Christmas. Some of these traditions have been carried from the family’s ancestral home. For example, some Eastern European families eat traditional Christmas wafers decorated with nativity scenes. Other traditions have special significance to individuals and their families; these precious family moments, which may include choosing and decorating a Christmas tree together or cooking a special dish to share, are often passed down to future generations.
Christmas is also a time when many families choose to give back by volunteering and donating items to help the less fortunate. Because the Christmas season is meant to be a time of happiness, many people choose to spend extra time ensuring that everyone has the best holiday season possible.
The Meaning Behind Tales and Decorations
Many people don’t realize the special meanings behind many Christmas symbols and decorations. These are an intrinsic part of the Christmas celebration and the meaning should not be missed! A major symbol of the season is Santa Claus, also known as St. Nicholas. This generous man helped the poor, including three sisters who had no money for dowries and therefore could not get married.
To help the sisters, St. Nicholas dropped three bags of gold coins down their chimney in the night – enough for dowries and a wedding for each of them. This gave way to the legend of Santa Claus bringing gifts to good children through the chimney.
Most other decorations have special meanings as well. The popular evergreen wreaths are made of a plant that does not die during the winter to represent the eternity of God. These are often decorated with a prominent red ribbon, which represents Christ. Candy canes, a popular Christmas treat, are also a reference to the story of the first Christmas. It is said that shepherds visited the baby Jesus, and the candy canes are meant as a reminder of the crooks they carried.
Christmas has become more than a religious holiday. It is a time for family and friends to spend together and to renew their bonds, to celebrate the ending year and to look forward to another year together. But that doesn’t mean we should overlook this holiday’s religious significance. This year, as the holiday season begins to sweep us away in a whirlwind of shopping and wrapping, take time to remember what the holiday is truly about – the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.