Christmas: I don’t get it?
by Chris Forder
Have you ever wondered why we have Christmas trees at Christmas or why we celebrate it in December when we don’t know when Jesus was born or what Santa has to do with Christmas or why it is even called Christmas in the first place? There are a lot of things we do at Christmas time, but why do we do them? Here some really quick answers.
- Why do we have Christmas Trees?
- While it is hard to know when we first started using fir trees, most people agree on the symbolism. The fir tree points us upward to God, reaches out to welcome all in with it’s branches and as an evergreen tree represents the eternal life we have with God through Jesus.
- Why do we celebrate Christmas in December?
- While we don’t have all the details many agree that in 336AD (300 years after Jesus walked on the earth) the Christian Roman Emperor Constantine took pagan festivals and replaced them with Christmas. So, the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals called ‘Saturnalia’ and ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’ took place in December around this date – so it was a time when people already celebrated things.
- What does Santa have to do with Christmas?
- While there are many folklore stories , it is agreed that St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop in 280AD who provided for the poor and sick. He would go around at night and throw bags of money through the windows of poor people. He was also known for his love and work with children. At times it was quite cold in Turkey, so he would wear a red bishop’s jacket. After his death, the legend of his gift-giving grew. St. Nicholas transformed into the legendary character called Santa Claus.
- Finally, why do we call it Christmas?
- The word ‘mass’ means service. It is connected to a Christian service held for Communion. Christians wanted to have a service that celebrated the birth of Christ, so they had a Christ Mass, which we now call Christmas.
There are so many good answers to why we have things at Christmas.
I hope this helps you a little bit as we celebrate this season when Immanuel came.
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