“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name “Immanuel” comes from the Hebrew meaning “God with us”.
I searched for the word Christmas and found two meanings: 1.”The word Christ stems from the Middle and Old English word Crist meaning the anointed one, the Lord’s Anointed.” * and 2.”Christmas derivative of Christ and Mass. Mass is the term used of the celebration of the Eucharist in the Latin rites of the Roman Catholic Church.”*
Thoughts: God created us in His Image and in His likeness. With the fall of Adam and Eve, our spirits were disconnected from God. ”For God so loved the world” and promised: “I will restore them because I have compassion on them.” (Zechariah 10:6) – “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking, will come to his temple, the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1) “For to us a child is born, to us a son given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
What better way to celebrate the King’s coming than with a Christmas tree.
Having been born in Europe, Christmas celebration was unlike it is today. In those days, I could feel the serenity and holiness in the air. In observance of Christmas, all the stores were closed, people were either in church or with family at home. There was a Christmas tree with lights but no gifts under it. Today, I feel the opposite is true for the serenity and holiness in the air, the true Spirit of Christmas, celebrating the Birth of Christ has given way to exorbitant adornments in the Christmas tree, lavish gifts and dinners.
I never really understood the purpose of the Christmas tree until I grew older. For Christians, it is symbolic of the “coming of Christ”. Everything else is merely a tradition invented by people.
Where I grew up, there were no presents under the tree. In Holland, we had a holiday on the sixth of December similar to Santa Claus at Christmas. “Sinterklaas”, a tradition and festive event for children. The night before, we put out our shoes, preferably with a carrot for the horse, in front of the mantle or a place where Santa could get to. We had been told, Santa Claus came over the roof tops and his helpers would carry a big bag with presents and throw it down the chimneys.
Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) was a man dressed in a fiery bright red mantle and on his head was a Miter – just like the pope – with a golden cross in center of the miter. His undergarments were all white and whore white gloves. On the sixth day, he’d ride into town on a white horse. He’d waved at the crowd – just as the pope does – he rode along through the city.
He was followed on foot by young or older men dressed as “Zwarte Piet” (Black Peter). The original was Black Peter was a “knecht or “servant” of Sinterklaas.
The name “black” came from their faces as they were covered in a black smear that reminds me of black shoe polish. Those black faces were frightening to look at and so was sitting on Sinterklaas his lap. Perhaps the very reason for “Sint Nicholas” coming to town – if you had been good all year, there were presents for you and if not, there was the ….
Yet, as a Christian, I – among many other brothers and sisters – remember and always will celebrate Christmas as for us, it symbolic of the Coming of Christ our Savior.
Praise the LORD for He is our Savior. In Christ, Amen
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