It is hard to believe that we are in December already! The tree is up, the lights are lit up, the stockings are hung. Shopping is almost done, lists are made, plans are set and life is crazy. WAIT STOP!! What is this all for?! JESUS! But why all the other stuff?!?
Okay lets take a look at the history behind Christmas. The first recorded date that Christmas was celebrated on December 25th was in 337 AD. In 336 AD Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity (he was the first Christian Emperor).Then a year after, Pope Julius I declared the birth of Jesus to be held on December 25th.
We have no exact date of when Jesus was born, but some believe that Mary was told that she was the chosen one and that she would bear the child of God on March 25th nine months later is December 25th. Some also believe that we celebrate it on this date as Winter Solstice was held around this date, so they wanted to take this celebration and make it a day to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
What about Santa Claus? Why? Here is a little back story on St. Nicolas.. It all started with a man named Nicholas. Nicholas grew up in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey), He grew up as a devout christian, his parents taught him to love people and God. When he was a teen his parents died and left him with a large amount of money. Living his life by the Lord and obeying his words"sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Nicolas became a bishop of Myra and was well known around Myra for his generosity.
As a bishop he wore a red coat with white fur and a red hat. He was also an older man with a white beard.... See how that image comes to play.
When he got older he heard of this family with three girls who didn't have enough money for a dowery (to marry off the girls). If they didn't get married they would most likely end up in slavery. He went to their home on three different days and tossed a bag of coins into the window; some say the bag of money ended up in the girls stockings hanging by the fire drying out. People heard of this and anytime they recieved a secret gift, they assumed it was Nicolas. Do to his good deeds he was given the title of a Saint.
There is a day of celebration for St. Nicolas which is on December 6th. This is the day St. Nicolas actually died and so it is a celebration of his life. This is a great way to share this remarkable story of a man who lived his life fully to serve the Lord and to help others.
This is great information to explain Santa Claus to children, and why he does what he does. In our home we do have Santa come and visit we talk about St. Nicolas and how his name came to be known as Santa Claus. How he gives to little boys and girl a gifts, food and or money. But we also talk about how we should emulate St. Nicolas, and work for the Lord every day. So we really focus on giving back through out the year; especially during the holiday season, this allows us to share Gods love to those in need.
Christmas Tree? Well this dates back to Egyptian times. They worshipped evergreen trees, when winter solstice came they would take the palm leaves to symbolize that life trumps death. The tree was originally a pagen symbol but was adapted into the christian celebration of Jesus for Christmas. The reason behind the Evergreen Tree is because it stays a live and vibrant all year long, it doesn't die, or go into hibernation a lot like the love of Jesus Christ.
Lets get to it... There are a lot of things that have been added through out the years to Christmas. Most of which is commercialized, I agree that a good portion of it is ridiculous, but I also know my kids love some of this. I also know that my kids know the true meaning of Christmas and that we are to give more and not take. Be happy with what we have and to live a life for our Lord. Jesus is the reason for the season, whether adapted or not. Everyone deserves a birthday party and Jesus is no different. Jesus was Born of the virgin Mary, that is a big deal! We may not know the exact date or year of that birth but we know he was born. So celebrate him this year, celebrate the Savior who came walked among man, sacrificed his life for our sins, died on the cross and rose again from the dead. How amazing is that?!? Enjoy this large celebration of lights, trees, carols, stories, and gift giving. Its the biggest birthday party of the year!
God bless and Merry Christmas!