“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17
In our childhood days, we spent time and effort in the days prior to Christmas, to build Christmas huts using sticks and palm branches. The construction of those huts took just a few hours and once completed, they became the base for children in the neighbourhood during the festivities. As we grew up, we were told that those huts were reminiscent of the crib and manger that Joseph and his wife, Mary took refuge and subsequently gave birth to our Lord Jesus the Christ.
In the days preceding Christmas, parents and children alike would spend quality time to mount up all manner of decorations, Christmas tree, lighting, etc. Again, the use of wreaths have been used as a decorative sign of Christmas for hundreds and hundreds of years. Christmas wreaths can adorn any part of your home, inside or out. In many homes, this symbol of growth and everlasting life is mostly found on doors, over the mantle, or hung in windows.
The Christmas wreath in particular, has a very significant meaning for the Christmas season. The most widespread known use of the wreath has been with respect to the celebration of Christmas. From the onset, the circular shape was said to symbolize eternal life and the ever unending love of God the Father exhibited to humanity through the gesture of sacrificing his only begotten son to die for the remission of their sin.
At about the 16th century my dear friend, the wreaths became the adopted symbol of Christians for the Christmas period. These wreaths were traditionally made of evergreens, which also symbolize eternal life, holly oak, and red berries. The red berries and the thorny leaves of the holly oak represented the crown of thorns worn by Jesus and the drops of blood that they drew.
From a christian religious perspective, the wreath represents an unending circle of life. The evergreen, most frequently used in making wreathes, symbolizes growth and everlasting life. Holly branches have thorns. When used in a wreath it represents the thorn on Jesus’ crown when he was crucified. Bright red holly berries symbolize Jesus’ blood that was shed for us.
Some people continue to hang the Christmas wreaths not necessarily because of the religious expression but strictly for decoration. The truth however is that any door upon which the wreath is hang this Christmas, may be a subtle invitation of Jesus Christ into that home, or it may be inviting the spirit of Christmas into the home along with the many blessings.
The use of the wreath is done alongside various lighting symbols – candies, Christmas Lights, etc all of which symbolize the coming of the light of Christ to a world darkened by sin that requires remission.
Beyond the decorations, Christmas has over time evolved from being time for sober reflection through worship services and sharing of gifts in line with the passage John 3:16 which goes that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. Today, beyond what Christmas is traditionally known for, it has also been unfortunately characterised as a season for partying and its attendant revelries, unnecessary vehicular and pedestrian accidents as well as other vices that do not in any way reflect the reason for the season.
Today, it is almost difficult for many people to actually remember the real meaning of Christmas let alone live up to it. Almost all persons invariably get caught up in the hype of Santa Claus, masquerades, and the other fanfare associated with the Yuletide with only a few people really focused on the real meaning of it.
My dear brethren, it important at this time, to remind ourselves that Christmas offers us a unique opportunity to commemorate the coming down in bodily form of Jesus as the Christ by whose birth, life, death and resurrection, the world is offered a new lease of life in God. That is the reason for which the wreath symbolises both life and thorns (death of Christ).
Let us therefore take time to stop and reflect upon the true meaning of this very special season by keeping Christ in Christmas.
My dear friend,