THE SYMBOLS OF CHRISTMAS
What is Christmas? It is a time for celebration; a time for remembrance; a time for giving; a time for faith; a time for family; a time for friends; a time for peace and a time for wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May the peace and joy of the Holiday Season be with you, and May all the Seasons of your life be filled with peace and happiness.
The original Santa Claus was St. Nicholas who was born in the 4th century. He is especially noted for his love of children and big bag of gifts. With his white bear and red robes, Santa flies through the night skies coming from his home in the North Pole bringing gifts for children and entering their homes by coming down the chimney. Santa is the symbol of joyous giving. He makes children's dreams come true. The modern image of Santa Claus is as a jolly fat man in a red suit with a big smile.
Jesus In The Manger Scene
The nativity scene of Jesus born in a manger witnessed by farm animals and visited by three Oriental Kings in search of the Messiah has long been associated with Christmas. The picture of baby Jesus is extremely auspicious especially if it is of Mary and Jesus, and this is because of the image of the miracle of Jesus' birth and of the essence of Jesus being born to save mankind. These connotations suggest the advent of a new beginning.
In a Christian text, the author states, "Christ is born in our soul, and when we recognize that birth, when we become conscious of Christ's being born within us, that is the time we are saved." This writer also says, "Christ is born when we become conscious of his birth in us. And his birth is dependent on this: the death of all our selfish desires. So, when the self is given up, and when silence is attained, that is the moment that Jesus Christ is born in our soul."
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree itself originated in Germany in the 16th century. It was common for the Germanic people to decorate fir trees with roses, apples and colored paper. Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, is believed to have been the first to light a Christmas tree with candles. Returning home one dark winter's night near Christmas, he was struck by the beauty of the starlight shinning through the branches of a small fir tree outside his home. He duplicated the starlight by using candles attached to the branches of his indoor Christmas tree. The practice soon caught on and eventually spread to Britain around the 19th century. The Christmas tree is the focal point of Christmas celebrations and having it lit up in the home invokes excellent growth energy. On the top of the tree is an angel and surrounding the tree are twinkling lights -- very auspicious indeed to close the year with a bang and to welcome in the New Year.
There is one Christmas tradition that should really be followed faithfully and this is the exchanging of gifts which should be beautifully wrapped and opened either on Christmas morning or during the Eve. The unwrapping of presents on such an auspicious day brings abundance and good fortune luck.
In the 18th century, children in Holland would leave clog shoes by the fireplace hearth in the hope that "Sinterclass" would leave gifts for them. Later, the clogs would become stockings, and Sinterclass woluld become Santa Claus. Today, many people still use the Christmas stocking as a holder of small gifts for children and loved ones. Stockings filled with presents are symbols of great abundance and happiness, especially for the children of the household.
These are auspicious animals associated with Christmas. It is reindeer that pull the sleigh bringing Santa and his big bag of goodies to households around the world. Reindeer are happy creatures that are purveyors of good fortune and abundance.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico. Named after Joel Poinsett, America's first ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828, the Mexicans thought the plants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. Thus the Poinsettia became associated with the Christmas season. The actual flower of the poinsettia is small and yellow. But surrounding the flower are large, bright red leaves, often mistaken for petals.
Hanging wreaths on doorways is a custom that began in Europe where evergreen branches were used to decorate doorway during Christmas time to invite woodland spirits into the home. They believed the spirits would bring good health and good fortune. Today, people still decorate their houses with evergreen and holly wreaths as a way of welcoming friends and relatives. The circular shape of the wreath signifies the everlasting nature of love: it never ceases, never stops, nor ends. It is one continuous circle of love. Christmas wreaths are usually decorated with bows, bells and other holiday symbols.
Many Christmas trees have a star on the top. Stars are believed to guide the way to special sights and in the old days, many of the star constellations (groups of stars) such as the "Great Bear" and "Little Bear" were worshipped as Gods. Ancient Hebrews used the six-pointed Star of David as a religious symbol, while the five-pointed Christmas star signified the star that appeared over Bethlehem when Jesus was born. In many cultures, stars are signs of good fortune and for reaching new goals.
Angels can be seen decorating windowsills and adorning Christmas treetops at Christmastime, and symbolize love, peace, and protection. At the year end when you are making New Year resolutions it is nice to know you are being watched over, with a "higher being" looking out for you and helping you make the right choices and decisions.
A view of pristine white snow symbolizes the purity of the cosmic environment. Usually such scenes are taken after a snowfall, and when the entire scene is one of an unblemished snow covered field, it is the purest form of yin water energy. Yet the snow scene is also the ultimate yang. so both of the cosmic forces are intrinsic in this scene.
The snowman is a favorite character on year-end festive cards and a hallmark symbol of Christmas season. The snowman represents fun, play and children. For those who don't live in countries with snow, and cannot make real snowmen, how about draw one instead, and decorate with colorful and vibrant scarves...an excellent activity for young kids to get into the spirit of Christmas.
Bells have always signified the spread of good tidings and good news, so when you display brass bells or even pictures of bells to celebrate an occasion such as Christmas, they evoke excellent cosmic energy. Christmas bells are also associated with a call to prayer.
The Dove Holding the Olive Branch
The dove has always been an universal symbol of peace, and when it is shown with an olive branch, it also means, "I am asking for forgiveness" or "I surrender". The meaning behind this symbol is very beautiful because it suggests one taking a posture of humility in the interests of creating peace and goodwill amongst men. The dove is thus a powerful symbol that captures the wonderful spirit of Christmas, which is one of friendship and benevolence.
The Candy Cane
This sweet is said to remind everyone what Christmas is all about with the color white symbolizing the purity and sinless nature of Jesus. The three small stripes represent the Holy Trinity. The bold red stripe signifies the blood Jesus shed for mankind. When looked at with the crook on top, it looks like a shepherd's staff, because Jesus is the shepherd of mankind. Turned upside down, it becomes the letter "J", which stands for Jesus' name.
The magic of brightly colored balls invoke the spirit of the metal element. The circular shape is also reminiscent of heaven, so these are especially auspicious when you think of them as jewels descending from heaven to hang on Christmas trees. Colored balls can come in all the colors of the rainbow and in all sizes, but they should be shining brightly so there is an element of metal suggested. Round colored balls are very auspicious during celebratory occasions.
It is believed that the mistletoe has always been used to celebrate the coming of winter. This evergreen plant was used to decorate homes, as they were believed to possess special healing powers for everything from female infertility to curing poisons. Scandinavians thought of the mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony, and they associated it with their Goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe was derived from the belief that kissing under a sprig of this plant would enhance the love between the couple.
Candles signify yang fire energy and this is very welcome on the Christmas scene - they are like twinkling lights, active and with a life force that flicker in response to the cosmic energy of the auspicious day. Candles light up the dark nights and traditionally show the pathway to safety. They light up faces and bring a glow of aura that is magical and auspicious during Christmas season.
Nothing quite brings the Christmas season to a crescendo as the singing of much loved Christmas songs. When music and singing of familiar carols fill the air, they evoke the spirit of Christmas like nothing else can. In many countries where Christmas is celebrated, the singing of Christmas carols is very much a part of celebrations on Christmas Eve as they usher in Christmas.
The custom of burning the yule log originated in Scandinavia, where the people would burn a huge log in honor of their God Thor once a year. After they became Christians, they made the yule log an important part of their Christmas celebrations. Today, many countries in Europe have adopted this custom, and lively ceremonies usually accompany the custom of dragging the great log into the house. It was considered good luck to keep an unburned part of the log to light the next year's yule log. The unburned part was believed to protect the home from bad luck and misfortune through the year.
The Meaning of Christmas Decorations:
Angels: God's protection and miracles; Apple: Good health and peace; Bell: Joy and Peace; Bird: Happiness and good news; Candles: Unselfishness and brightness; Carousel: Endless joy and happiness; Cat: Money luck and to attract affection; Champagne: Celebration and party time; Chimney Sweep: Good luck - sweeping away the bad luck; Cow: Wishes coming true and a comfortable life; Deer: Speed, advance; Dog: Faithful friend and ally; Dove: Purity and peace through the year; Fish: Blessings with food all year round; Flower: Beauty and good fortune; Frog: Good luck in business; Fruit: Generosity and goodwill; Grapes: Friendship and abundance; Heart: True love and romance; House: Shelter and support; Owl: Wisdom and intelligence; Pine Cone: Motherhood and longevity; Rabbit: Hope and security; Rose: Beauty, love, Mother Mary; Pig: Wealth and plenty of good fortune; Tea or Coffee Pot: Hospitality; Santa: Goodwill and presents; Sheep: Devotion and loyalty; Snowman: Patience and loving energy; Star: God's guidance; Stork: Fruitfulness and fertility; Teddy Bears: Companionship.