CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT: The meaning of Christmas

How many shopping days to Christmas? Will we have enough food? Have we bought all the presents?

These are common questions at this time of year – but they all ignore what Christmas is all about.

This is the period of Advent in the church calendar which means ‘coming towards’ the celebration of the greatest coming of all, the birth of Jesus Christ on earth.

Christians celebrate Christmas not only with parties, a family meal, presents, decorations and all the other fripperies, but underlying it all is the joy of knowing that Jesus Christ is here among us.

Christmas is surrounded with old superstitions, legends ande practices.

We decorate our homes with holly, its prickly leaves and blood-red berries reminding us of the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’s head at his crucifixion.

Christmas is hardly complete without a tree. The tradition is barely more than 150 years old in our country, Prince Albert introducing it from Germany.

Its origin lies in pagan worship but Christians festoon it with lights to remind us that Jesus brought light and life into a dark world.

Some churches hold Christingle services, where children carry a lighted candle in a decorated orange as another reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.

We give presents as a reminder of God’s gift of his Son to be our Saviour and of the wise men who brought presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh to newborn Jesus.

However we celebrate Christmas, let us remember what it is really all about.

 

A.R. Nicholls

Heron Hill Free Church

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