Christmas is a word that brings a lot of random thoughts into our head. For some people, their first thought is Santa Claus, gifts, cookies, stockings and decorations. For others, they think about Jesus in a manger, Mary and Joseph, the Star that shone in the night for the shepherds to follow and angels. All of these are natural thoughts and have different meanings.
Both Santa Claus and stockings came from a Christian man named Saint Nicholas who lived in the time of 300 AD. Stories are told of how St. Nick was famous for being a secret gift-giver, putting coins and gifts in kids shoes that were outside for him. No there was no chimney falling, no ho-ho-ho's, and no raindeers. But there were many gifts that were given!
The well known story of stockings, is when a poor family had three daughters at the age to get married. However, they did not have enough money for dowry's for each one. Since they didn't, in that day in age, the daughters would most likely have to become prostitutes. St. Nick upon hearing their story decided to go undercover and throw a bag of coins down the chimney while their stockings (socks) were hanging up to dry. He did this three nights in a row, one bag for each girl thus saving them from prostitution. So now we put little gifts in stockings hanging on the fireplace.
My personal favorite part of Christmas is putting up the tree, and buying gifts for each other! When I think of these things, I think of the tree representing the tree that Christ died on, the lights being us shining for Him, and the ornaments being you and I a beautiful creation of God. The gifts of course represent Jesus being the ultimate gift for us, coming as a baby and wrapped in a blanket (not wrapping paper :) under the roof of a stable...or the leaves of the tree.
At church, we have been going through a series called: Jesus the True and Better. It's so interesting, because Pastor Brandon takes stories from the Old Testament and parallels them to the One to come. How Jesus is the True and Better Adam who would be tempted in the worst of circumstances and not give in. A True and Better Moses who rescued the people from their bondage and brought them to a land flowing with milk and honey (heaven). A True and Better Joseph who saved Israel from starvation, Him being the bread of life, and would reveal Himself at the proper time. A True and Better David who would slay a giant called Lucifer (Satan) and crush his head, ultimately becoming King. A True and Better Daniel whom people would try and find fault in, but wouldn't; who would be caught praying (in the Garden of Gethsemane) and would be taken to die; who would be put in a sealed pit (tomb) and come out alive. Jesus, He is the True and Better! I would encourage you to listen to this series here.
Then you have the original Christmas story, the story that spurred on the holiday we call Christmas. The story of where Mary, a normal girl would carry the Savior of the world, and would deliver a Son named Jesus in the city of Bethlehem with her husband Joseph. A star brighter than ever, would shine over the place they were at, allowing the shepherds in the field to find the baby: their King. A few years later, a group of wise men would come to Mary and Joseph's home to give Jesus highly valued gifts of Frankincense and Myrrh. They knew that this boy was the best gift of all. And He had come to save them from their sin.
So as we celebrate with family and friends, remember that Jesus is the reason we even have this holiday, that He is the best gift that could ever be wrapped under the tree. Merry Christmas y'all!
He is worthy and greatly to be praised