Hey y’all. Sorry for the lack of posting (again). The holiday season is busy, and y’all probably can relate. We are going to taking a break from the series, Knowing You Are Special for the month of December and focus more on Christmas topics. So here’s the first Christmas post of the season, FACQ: Frequently Asked Christmas Questions.
Why do we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas? Historians have studied when Jesus might have been born. They have a few ideas but, they are not exactly sure when he was born. Christmas was first celebrated officially by the Roman emperor, Constantine and it wasn’t declared a national holiday until Ulysses S. Grant. It really doesn’t matter when Jesus was born. All that matters is that he was born.
Why do we call it Christmas? Back in the early church time people used to get together for communion or celebrate Christ’s birthday. They would call these get together’s masses. So, when they celebrated Christ’s birthday they called it Christs’ mass. Over the years we have shortened Christs’ mass to Christmas!
What do certain plants have to do with Christmas? You have probably heard the song, The Holly and the Ivy. Well Christians believe that prickly leaves of the Holly represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns. And the Ivy has to cling to something to support itself as it grows. This reminds us that we need to cling to God for support in our lives. I never thought about Holly and Ivy this way until someone actually told me! It’s quit clever if you think about it. Same thing for the popular Poinsettia plant. The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity. Who knew a little plant could mean something?
Why do we exchange presents on Christmas? We are giving the gift of Christmas to others. God started this tradition by sending, or by giving us his only son, Jesus. John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son. That whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. We show people we care and love them by giving them something. Just as God showed us he loved us by sending his son. We are regifting the love Jesus gave to us, and showing it to others.
What’s the point of the Christmas tree? A Christmas tree reminds us of a story a along time ago. There were people that worshiped a false god. They believed that the god dwelt in this large tree, right in the middle of nowhere. They believed if anyone cut it down they would be punished. But, there was this one guy who believed in Jesus, and knew idol worship was wrong, and he decided to cut down the tree. The people watched as the tree came down and nothing happened. Then they all started worshiping the one true God – Jesus! So the tree reminds us that Jesus is the one true God.
Why are candy canes such a big deal? There are many stories about this one. But my favorite would definitely have to be..
“Look at the candy cane and what do you see? Stripes that are red like the blood shed for me. White for my savior who is sinless and pure. “J” is for Jesus, my Lord, that’s for sure! Turn it around and a staff you will see- Jesus my shepherd is coming for me!”
What does X-mas mean? A lot of you may have heard about the word x-mas before. It is Christmas shortened, but notice that the x covers Christ. So what do you think the purpose of the word x-mas is? To take Christ out of
Christmas. Just like Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. They don’t believe Christmas is the day we celebrate Christ’s birth. Some people say “Merry x-mas” but they don’t mean anything by it. They just don’t know what it means and why it’s said like that. Some people just say it to take the short way out. They don’t feel like spelling Christmas all the way out. If I were you, I’d take the time to spell Christmas out. Because I don’t to take my savior’s name out of Christmas.
Who is Emmanuel? You’ve probably heard the song, O Come O Come Emmanuel. The song is quoting scripture. In Matthew 1:23 it says “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”). Emmanuel is just another name for our savior. He has many names, God the Son, Messiah, Lord, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Light of the World etc. Isaiah 9:6 even states that “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
What exactly was the star of Bethlehem? This is a question that has confused Christian astronomers and worldly astrologers alike. Some say it was a supernova that had recently exploded. Others say it was a planetary conjunction between big and bright planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. Some say that the moon was in the mix. Others propose that maybe very bright stars aligned. And then there are those who think God put a brand new special star in the sky just for that very night. No one knows for sure what exactly happened. But it has become a beautiful symbol of how special that night was.
If Christ inspired the idea of Christmas, how did Santa Claus come into play? Many stories associate the idea of Santa Claus with giving. St. Nicholas’ story goes something like this, There was a poor man who had three daughters. He was so poor, he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn’t get married. (A dowry is a sum of money paid to the bridegroom by the brides parents on the wedding day.) One night, Nicholas, who’s parents had just left a big sum of money to, secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house (This meant that the oldest daughter was then able to be married.). The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry! This was repeated later with the second daughter. Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold. Nicholas begged the man to not tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself. But soon the news got out and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from Nicholas. Other stories go onto say that Saint Nick would leave presents in wooden shoes. So children every year would leave their wooden clogs at their doors and wait for Saint Nick to fill them with goodies! Santa’s name is different in every country, Pere Noel, Sinter Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, St. Nick, Santa Claus etc. Through the years people just kept making up idea’s about this St.Nick fellow. They later changed his name to Santa and developed the ideas of him living at the North Pole, having 12 reindeer (and of course, Rudolph), elves, flying a sled, and so on. So really the whole Santa Claus story originated from a plain ole guy just wanting to share Christmas with others.
What is the true meaning of Christmas? I got one word for you….. Jesus. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” *thinks about coffee mug* It tells us here in Luke 1:26-56 about how the angel Gabriel came to a virgin girl who was just 14-15 years old. Her name was Mary. The angel told her she was going to have a child. But, not just any baby, she was gonna have the savior of the world. The bible tells us how Mary had to break the news to her fiance, Joseph. And how the Lord had to show Joseph that everything was going to be alright. In Luke 2:1-40 it talks about how they had to travel all the way to Bethlehem (pregnant Mary rode a donkey) to pay taxes and how there was no room at any of the inns. It tells us how Jesus had to be born in a stable because they couldn’t find a room. It tells us how the shepherds saw the star and heard the angels sing. They followed the bright star and reached the little family in the stable. Matthew 2:1-12 Say that years later wisemen did the same thing. They followed the star and presented the king with gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Christmas is about celebrating the King’s birthday. It’s about thanking God for sending us salvation on a cold winter’s day in a little town called Bethlehem. #christmasstoryinanutshell
So, it looks like the FACQ post is now over. *sniffles* If you can think of any more questions, let me know in the comments below.
And just remember we can joke and decorate with Santa but just make sure you always remember and never stray away from the fact that, Jesus is the reason for the CHRISTmas season! ❤