In Germany during the 1600’s, people hung apples and wafers on the Christmas trees. The fruit represented the death of Adam and Eve, and the wafers of the Eucharist stood for salvation. The wafers were later designed into stars, flowers and other decorations. Houses decorated with candles in the window are continuing a tradition started in Ireland. One candle lit onChristmas Eve welcomes the Christ Child. The wise men brought three symbolic gifts to Jesus; gold (a gift for kings), frankincense (used for worship) as the symbol of prayer) and myrrh (used to embalm the dead). The book of Matthew describes the Promised Savior; the book of Mark, the Powerful Savior; the book of Luke, the Perfect Savior; and the book of John, the Personal Savior. Handel wrote the entire Messiah in 24 days. The Christmas candy cane was designed to share the message of Jesus. Shaped like a shepherd’s staff, the red stripes remind us of Isaiah 53:5, “By His stripes we are healed.” The white stripes remind us of purity – through His death we are made pure. When the candy cane is turned upside down, it becomes a “J” for Jesus. The word “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread” and there the”Bread of Life” was born. Tradition tell us that the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” originated during the 16th Century in England. The symbols of the song are filled with basic teachings of the Christian faith. Partridge In a Pear Tree – representing Jesus Christ given as a gift from God. Turtle Doves – Old and New Testament French Hens – Faith, Hope and Love Calling Birds – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament – The Pentateuch Geese A Laying – Six days of creation Swans A Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit Maids A Milking – Eight beatitudes Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit Lords A Leaping – The Ten Commandments Pipers Piping – The eleven faithful Apostles Drummers Drumming– 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed The 12 days of Christmas are celebrated between December 25th and January 6th -Epiphany. In the Eastern European culture, the emphasis is on the visit of the Magi, and in the Western culture Jesus’ baptism is the focus.
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