Day 4: What IS the Real Meaning of Christmas?

The Wreath

When made of evergreen leaves/branches the wreaths symbolize everlasting life with the green color symbolizing hope and new life.

Matthew 12:21
And his name will be the hope of all the world.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Day four of my journey into discovering the real meaning of Christmas and I arrive at the Christmas wreath.  Upon some needed research, I again discovered no mention of such an object in the story of the birth of Jesus, but rather a tradition started by the church to teach of the birth of Jesus.  Okay I get this one and I respect its’ purpose, however again I am baffled as to how much us as Christians have put into making Christmas more than what it really is.  I am beginning to feel as though Christmas, though very important as it marks the birth of Christ, has just grown into this mass media production trying to draw our attention instead of towards Jesus, but to see all the flashy things we have made it into.  Once again we arrive at the bigger and better displays.  Does one feel that the bigger the display, the more they love Jesus?  I think not.

I must agree I enjoy the concept the wreath represents because Jesus did indeed come to bring hope to the world and give us new life as we accept Him as our savior.  I also saw in one of the explanations that the wreath symbolizes a ring, infinity, circle of life and commitment.  All these things are true when it comes to Jesus, therefore I feel this wreath has more value in the Christmas of today than perhaps the Christmas lights, but is it what God wants us to see?  Do we really look at a wreath and think of all of these symbols?  No we just see the beauty of it whether it is simple green boughs or adorned with lights and bows.  We simply see it for another symbol of Christmas, yet another item to drag out of storage to place on our doors or over our mantels for a month or so only to be placed back out of sight for the rest of the year.  Should we not celebrate hope and new life year round?

I feel as I am taking this moment in my life to really seek the meaning of Christmas that God is drawing me away from every concept I had of Christmas and showing me the real deal.  I am beginning to feel like we left Jesus laying in a manger and wandered off to make Christmas what we wanted it to be instead of what God purposed it to be from the beginning.  As I am searching for answers God is showing me there is so much more than a donkey, Christmas lights or adorned wreaths.  He is teaching me to appreciate what I have in this life.  He is showing me how far off we are in today’s traditions of Christmas and is calling us back to the manger so we can see this birth for what it truly is, a gift of Hope in a broken world.

Advent Wreath

Further information: Advent Wreath

Since the classical use and symbolism of wreaths, the meaning and representation has taken on differing views, depending on the culture. In Christianity, wreaths are used to prepare for the Advent season or the “coming of Christ.”[6] The first known association with these now modern day wreaths dates back to the Lutherans in Germany in the 16th century. In 1839, Johann Hinrich Wichern used a wreath made from a cart wheel to educate children about the meaning and purpose of Christmas, as well as to help them count its approach. For every Sunday of Advent, starting with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, he would put a white candle in the wreath and for every day in between he would use a red candle.[7] The Advent wreath is constructed of evergreens to represent everlasting life brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represents God, with no beginning and no end. The Advent wreath is now a popular symbol in preparation for the coming of Christ, to mark the beginning of the Christian Church’s year and as décor during the Christmas festivities.

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