Live reenactment of the Christmas nativity
Live reenactment of the Christmas nativity (Anneka / Shutterstock)

By Andrea Compagnoni Wright, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

Andrea Compagnoni Wright
Andrea Compagnoni Wright, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

The Christmas spirit seems to come from our Christmas beliefs and traditions when we celebrate love and goodwill to mankind. The true Christmas spirit of simple pleasures is of family and friends. The holiday celebration also provides us with expressions of appreciation and gratitude.

The traditional devotion of Christmas is to praise one of the most remarkable miracles found in the Bible, the birth of the Christ-child Jesus, the Son of God. The name Christmas comes from the Mass of Christ. The Christ-child, Jesus, is a symbol of love, light, hope, and peace. Christmas time is the festivity of God’s ultimate gift: His son Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV).

Jesus’ birth, known as the nativity, is described in both Luke and Matthew in the New Testament. Both accounts describe the events in a comprehensive manner and show the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. (Numbers 24: 17-19, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 60:3 & 6, Jeremiah 31:15, Hosea 11:1 and Micah 5:2)

Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem due to the census. When they arrived, the town was filled with many people. The only place they could find to stay was a stable where the animals slept. They did not realize how appropriate this place was, as Jesus is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29, NKJV). Where else would a lamb be born at that time but in a stable?

The Gospel of Luke continues to state: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:8-12, NKJV).

In Matthew, chapter 2, we learn that the Star of Bethlehem marked the way for those wise men who were looking for the special child. These men were from the East, probably from the area around Iran, and they saw the star in the night sky that marked the birth of a new king. They came to worship the new king bringing gifts.

Symbols at Christmas

The Christmas Poinsettia

The Christmas plant has a spiritual story behind it. It is known as the “Flower of the Holy Night.” Poinsettias can be seen in churches everywhere during the holiday season. The shape of the poinsettia flower is sometimes thought of as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, which led the wise men to Jesus. The red-colored flowered leaves symbolize the blood of Christ and the white-colored flowered leaves represent His purity.

The Candy Cane

The J-shaped candy cane is for Jesus. The red stripe represents the sacrifice of Christ, and the white stripe is the symbol of purity. The peppermint flavor in the Old Testament is listed as an herb for cleansing.

The Christmas Tree

Some say the Christmas tree represents Jesus and the light he brings to the world. The star placed on the top of the tree represents the “Star of Bethlehem.” Putting ornaments on the tree is dated back to the 16th-century where Europeans would decorate their trees with apples to symbolize the story of Adam and Eve.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men” (Luke 2:14, NKJV). The celebration of love is one of the true meanings of Christmas and therefore, we should show kindness to others and pass on the Christmas spirit. It is our time of showing God’s unlimited love for us and a time of healing. The Christian example is for the Spirit of Christ to live in us throughout the year. We are what makes Christmas what it is. Many aspects make up the Spirit of Christmas: giving, understanding, compassion, and reflecting the gift of love that our Savior has given to us. May you share the Spirit of Christmas with your families, friends, farmers, ranchers, and neighbors.

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