Monday, December 06, 2010

Did You Know.... Part I

With Christmas becoming such a commercial holiday, Matt & I have decided to become more intentional with the holiday in years past. We find ourselves searching for the real meanings behind tradition and of course, the big meaning behind Christmas itself; the birth of Christ our Savior.

That being said, I thought it would be a neat idea to write about folklore, tradition, spiritual, and historical reasons as to why Christmas is the way it is. This holiday is a truly magical time for so many people and in the light of the magic, we should all be aware of why we celebrate, honor and do the things we do.

Did you know... that holly was orginally used by early Europeans to ward of off evil spirits during the holy month of Christ's birth?

In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed.

It is fascinating to me to consider how superstitious and fearful early Christians lived. They constantly worried about disease, famine, violence, persecution, starvation, and many other ills we don't even bother with today. Due to their lack of knowledge and education, many of these misfortunes were blamed on evil spirits and darkness, resulting in a very fearful existence.

Let this holiday be a season in which we share the grace, freedom and love of Christ. Do not let the holiday pass without loving someone intentionally. Give them a gift that represents God's gift to all of us: love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (John 3:16)

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts, Beth, and interesting information on holly. I think that as we now have little ones to teach and to share the Christmas season with, it makes us more purposeful in what we do. It's fun to get to create meaningful traditions and to take advantage of a season full of teachable moments. By the way, will you be in Portland at all this month?