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What the Christmas Symbols Mean
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The Christmas Tree
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Lights
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The Nativity Scene
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Red and Green
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Stockings
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Candy Canes
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Bells
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Stars
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Gifts
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Angels
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Saint Nicholas
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Poinsettia

The Christmas Tree

The true origin of the Christmas Tree is a mystery, judging from the many, many theories, ranging from the Druids to one of England's 19th century kings. This much is certain: the evergreen is an ancient symbol of eternal life, which we have through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. God created the evergreens, and we don't mind reclaiming this symbol from pagans if need be. Tradtionally, the Christmas tree has a star on top. When we look at a Christmas Tree, we are reminded of the eternal life we will enjoy in the presence of Christ.

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Lights

Christmas lights are another symbol that come from pagan origins, but were created by God. Lights signify hope, happiness and safety. They represent the fact that Jesus is the Light of the World in the midst of profound darkness. When we see Christmas lights on buildings and Christmas trees, and lit candles, we're reminded of Jesus, the Light of the World.

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Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes obviously come from the accounts in the Bible of the birth of Christ. Often 'the three wise men' are included, however, they didn't appear on the scene until Jesus was somewhat older. We still enjoy their inclusion in Nativity scenes. Also, the Bible doesn't mention how many wise men there were, but most likely they were accompanied by a sizeable entourage. In France, it's customary to add figures that denote various occupations, because Jesus is worshipped by, and sacrificed Himself for, people from all walks of life. Animals are included because the place where Mary gave birth to Jesus was a shelter for animals. They laid the newborn baby in the feeding trough or manger. It's not far fetched to think that several different kinds of animals were present. Seeing the different creche figures reminds us that there were household animals and ordinary people like us present where Jesus was born.

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Christmas Red and Green

Red traditionally represents the sacrifice of blood that Jesus shed while hanging on the cross. Green represents the evergreen, ie. eternal life. Holly is included with the evergreens, and even had special significance because of the red berries it has. At one time holly was considered a holy plant: green for eternal life, and red for the blood of Christ. We believe in the meaning of these symbols.

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Stockings

Legend has it that

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Candy Canes

There's a story that candy canes were invented by a Christian candy maker to represent the life of Christ. White represents His purity, the red stripe His blood, 3 stripes to represent the Trinity, etc. Recently, there have been claims that there was no such intended meaning-- the story is false. We don't know if it's true or not, but it's too late: when we see candy canes, we think of the life of Christ!

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Bells

In the days before people had phones, wall calendars, wrist watches, etc, the church, which was the center of the community, would ring its bell(s) to call people to church services, toll someone's death, etc. The bells were (and still are, in some places) rung to announce the anniversary of Christ's birth. When we see Christmas bells, we are reminded of the joyful announcement of Jesus' birth.

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Stars

Stars are one of the most well known symbols of Christmas. Stars at Christmas time represent the biblical Star of Bethlehem which was a beacon of reckoning for the wise men to follow, in order to come worship the child Jesus, the little King of the Jews. It is said that they travelled so far that by the time they found Jesus, He was a couple years old. When we see stars at Christmas time, they remind us of that special star that showed foreign dignitaries where Jesus was.

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Gifts

One of the best things about Christmas for most people, is getting and receiving gifts. Giving one another presents is a ritual straight from the Bible. Salvation is called in the New Testament 'A free gift'. Jesus is God's gift to human beings. We give each other gifts because God set the precedent by giving so much to us, in the form of His creation, His Son, and Himself. When we see Christmas presents they remind us of the most precious gift God gave us-- the way to Heaven through Jesus.

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Angels

Angels come to us via the Bible. According to Scripture they are real creatures, agents of God (and created separately from people... angels aren't really people who died and went to heaven). The word 'angel' just means messenger. It's interesting that the only angels mentioned in the Bible have masculine names, yet in today's western culture they're almost always portrayed as females. The Bible also records angels doing battle, aiding people and worshipping God. It says that God dispatches angels to relay messages to humans. An angel told Mary she would have a baby and call him Jesus. Some angels were seen by shepherds singing in Heaven. They told the shepherds that Jesus was born, and where to find Him. It's very cool that every time an angel contacted a human, the first thing they had to tell the person was, "Don't be afraid"...they must be very, very awesome. Throughtout history and to this day, all over the world, in every culture and every religion, reports of angel-sightings abound. When we see angel decorations during the Christmas season, we think of the ones who told the shepherds where to find and worship Jesus.

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Saint Nicholas

You won't find any jolly, fat, red-suited Santas in our home at Christmas time, but we do acknowledge the original St. Nicklaus who lived in what is now modern-day Turkey back in the 3rd or 4th century. He was a devout Christian who served and helped poor people, living out the dictates of Jesus Christ. We honor him because he set us an excellent example. The Christmas stocking has many supposed origins. One is that children left their stockings on the fireplace mantle to dry, and St. Nick tiptoed in the door and dropped treats into them.

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Poinsettia

The Poinsettia, a plant native to Mexico, became a Christmas symbol because it was said to represent the blood Jesus shed on the cross, as well as the star of Bethlehem. Mexican legend tells of a poor girl who could only offer the Baby Jesus a handful of weeds, but when she gave them to Him they blossomed into lush red plants.

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