Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Symbols of Christmas

The other day, my mother-in-law was telling me about a book she was reading.  It talked about how we talk to our children the of All the fun things of Christmas, such as Santa, reindeer, Christmas lights, snowman, and Cute Christmas songs. But, are we teaching them the true meaning and symbols of Christmas? Are our children getting excited about service, loving others, and learning about Christ's birth? I feel I have been guilty about mostly pointing out the "fun" Holiday things and not so much the things I should be. I have even used the, "if you don't pick up your toys, or if you sneak that cheese out of the fridge Xander, Santa won't bring you any toys." I'm not proud of it but it worked at the time.  My kids have been so excited about all of the special holiday traditions this time of year. In the book my mother-in-law read, a girl said to her mother, "I believe in Santa and you believe in Jesus."  How sad is that! I want my children to know that Jesus is so much more important than "all things Santa and gifts."

I have been trying to make it a point to teach my children the true reason for Christmas and the symbols of it. The wreaths, the lights, the red bows, the decorated trees, the presents all remind me of the true meaning of Christmas, even Santa Claus is a symbol of the spirit of Christmas, giving and receiving love, caring, sharing, kindness, cheerfulness, happiness, peace, goodwill to all, and Christlike living.

  Last year, I was looking for a way to teach this to my kids so they would understand and a friend of mine suggested a book to me. It's called, I Believe in Santa Claus. I highly recommend it to anyone with small children or special needs children. We just love this book. It breaks things down and teaches us of the symbols of the true meaning of Christmas and how Santa is like Jesus Christ.

In our family night tonight, we read this story called, Teach The Children. In the story, Santa is sad because we have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and he says, "Teach the children. teach the children the true meaning of Christmas." Then he pulls out of his bag symbols of Christmas and talks about what each one means. It is a really neat story and after we had the children find each of the symbols on our Christmas tree and we talked about them again.

I believe in teaching our children to believe in a kind and generous Santa in their tender young years because it gives them traits of goodness, helpfulness, and the desire to bring joy and happiness to others, and to honor service, which are attributes of the Savior and teaches them to become more Christlike. when I see my children's faces light up at Christmas time, read the story of Christ's birth, and see my children, family and friends doing acts of kindness I am very thankful that I believe in the true meaning of Christmas.

Teach The Children
The True Meaning of Christmas

This is how it happened...I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.

He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat, and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement.

I was puzzled; what did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said,
"Teach the children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten."

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantel.
"Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven."

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR.
"Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise."

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE.
"Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness."

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree.
"Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection."

He then pulled from his bag an ornament of himself.
"Teach the children that I, St. Nick, Santa Claus ) symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December."

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF.
"Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly represents the blood shed by Him."

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said,
"Teach the children that God so loved the world that HE gave HIS only begotten SON..." "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

"Teach the children that the wise men bowed before the Holy BABE and presented HIM with gold, frankincense and myrrh. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men."

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree.
"Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL.
"Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL.
"Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return."

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said,
"Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship HIM, our LORD, our GOD."

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