‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.’ Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
Today, some people are trying to remove any public mention of Christ at Christmas, while others seem bent on secularising it completely. So let’s look at the meaning of some of the Christmas symbols.
Small holly berries are thought to have originally reminded Christians of the drops of Christ’s blood caused by the crown of thorns He wore on Calvary. Evergreen trees speak of the promise of never-ending life resulting from His resurrection. When early Christians changed the Roman winter solstice of the rebirth of the sun (originally on December 21), to a celebration of the birth of the ‘Son of Righteousness’, the evergreen wreath was adopted. Instead of simply being a garland, the round Christmas wreath now speaks of the never-ending unity and fellowship we have with God through Christ. So if you hang a wreath on your door or over your fireplace this Christmas, remind yourself that nothing ‘shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39 NKJV)
But it’s pagan, you might say! Or just ‘traditional’! The fact is that Jesus Himself took the traditional and pagan of His time and transformed its meaning. Hanukkah—the Festival of Lights—is not one of the feasts commanded by God. It was (and is) a human tradition celebrating a great military victory. Yet it was at Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, that Jesus said, ‘I am the Light of the World,’ restoring a name associated with the pagan god Mithras to both Himself and to the Father.
Jesus didn’t avoid the pagan and traditional, but used it to point to Himself. So why can’t we do the same?
SoulFood: 1 Cor 7–9, Matt 1:17, Ps 97, Pro 31:22–24
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023