Christmas Traditions

Do You Know at, more than 160 countries celebrate Christmas? A few countries refer to the holiday as Family Day, including Angola and Uruguay. Some countries--like Jordan and Pakistan--designate December 25th as an official holiday only for Christians.

There are a myriad of Christmas traditions and customs practiced across the world. From decorations, clothing attire, presents, to food, greetings and more modern celebratory happenings.

Decorations range from simple lighting fixtures of varying shades, to elaborate house and property extravaganzas. Businesses sometimes have ornate displays in order to attract attention to their name. Many homes decorate Christmas (pine) trees as simple as a few lights and baubles, to showcases of effort and cost.

Trees can start as a small desk top artificial to 30ft giants brought in on trucks and set with cranes.

To deal with Christmas food traditions could take volumes of books but suffice to say that the scope covers just about the whole gamut of consumption.

Breakfast waffles with special toppings, mince pies, Christmas cookies, crackers, candy canes, eggnog and pudding. Turkey or ham selections and accompanying side dishes. Some ethnics have their own main dishes such as fishes and distinctive spaghettis. Desserts are expected in between meals!

Ugly (Funny) sweaters, poinsettia’s, fruitcake, gingerbread houses, holly and ivy, stockings, mistletoe,and door wreaths make their triumphant return. Along with Christmas music playing in stores, lobbies, and broadcast across radio/social media. Christmas greeting cards get bought to be presented with gifts as a well-wishing sentiment.

Older traditions may remain or become less, as new ones become more popular. Many watch Christmas movies such as It’s a Wonderful life, Home Alone and the jury is out on Die Hard. The Yule log viewing can still be viewed on the Internet. Others watch variations of the nutcracker performance. Elf on the shelf has exploded into popularity, while the 12 days of Christmas remains a popular jingle and brain teaser for memorization.

Salvation army volunteers become fixtures at store entrances, gift giving their time to help make a difference for at needs people. Christmas becomes a community awareness of giving and goodwill. From gifts and greeting cards, to the obvious, “Merry Christmas” salutation.

This article does not have the space to get into Santa Claus, Rudolph, Elves, Jack Frost, The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, A Christmas Carol with Scrooge, and all the associated side stories, characters, music and recognitions from the imaginary world brought to our seasonal traditions for entertainment and delight.

Some Christmas traditions border on the superficial or have meaning meant for select demographics. Others have broader appeal but perhaps lack the foundational depth of the truth about Christmas. While all have Christmas awareness, and most take time off from work in some manner to have celebratory occasion, how many acclaims the origins and significance?

The Christmas story is naturally about the entrance of God into our world as a human. The Angels proclaimed it, Luke 2:13-14, there were witnesses V16-17, it created quite the stir then as it does now. V18

Scholars agree that Dec 25’th is not the actual birth of Christ but it is set aside for recognition. There are myths and misconceptions mostly minor in nature that some use to distract from the more important reality: That God came among us to save us!

The symbolism of that birth is the Nativity, with accompanying star and the Christmas story. Church attendance picks up as the larger group of spiritually sensitive folks pay homage to that blessed event. Christmas songs portraying and referring are sung across the land with Silent Night doubtless the most popular. Candles are lit, the story is read, sermons are preached, and people gather.

In all the hustle and bustle the Holiday season promotes, how many seriously take the time to ponder the real message of Christmas? I encourage the reader to thoughtfully reflect on the overt point of that birth. Please read Matt 1:18- 2:12 and Luke Ch2

For all the participation that engulfs society over this Holiday, don’t let it overwhelm and drown out the most simple and profound legitimacy of this time. I am not implying a guilt trip, but I am encouraging a spiritual journey by reading with purpose the Christmas story. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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