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Opinion — Christmas symbols

First, I want to thank you all for reading my columns that appear in The Charlotte Gazette. I deeply appreciate the encouragement and support from the readers. When I’m out in public and people come up and tell me they enjoy reading my work, it’s a great feeling. I look forward to doing more in 2022.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about Christmas and the various symbols associated with the season. Here are a few. First, the candy cane: the large stripes on the candy remind us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and the three small red stripes signify his suffering — the whip on his back, the crown of thorns on his head and the nail wounds in his hands and feet. Also, the red represents the love he has for us. Second, the nativity depicts the Holy family —Jesus lying in a manger, his mother, the Virgin Mary, and his earthly father Joseph, the carpenter. Third, the significance of the Christmas tree was a spiritual revelation for me. Over a thousand years ago, a monk named Boniface used the evergreen tree to tell people about God. He explained that the tree had three corners but it’s still one tree as God is one person but three: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. After that, people who wanted to pass Boniface’s teaching on to future generations started cutting trees and hanging them in churches. This began the Christmas tree legend.

During medieval times, the people celebrated the Feast of Adam and Eve on Dec. 24. Evergreen trees were decorated with apples and twists of bread to tell the story of the tree in the Garden of Eden. People would add flowers, fruits and wafers to explain Jesus Christ’s birth. When Dec. 25 was chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birth and before electric lights, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther was on his was home from church service on Christmas Eve and as he was walking he noticed the streetlight reflecting off of the icicles hanging from a small evergreen tree. Martin cut down that tree, set it up in his home and put candles on it. Hence, Jesus’s birth signifies his becoming the Light of the World. Soon people in Europe began decorating trees for Christmas as we do today, placing beautiful glass ornaments, trinkets and treats-all to celebrate the Savior’s birth.

I found this so fascinating. It is a reminder of the glory of our Savior who chose to come down as a baby born to a virgin to save us from our sins through his birth, death and resurrection. A miracle and wonder of Christmas. We should never forget.

Judy Moore is a tour guide with The Central High Museum and she lives in Wylliesburg. She can be reached at v5agabond2@gmail.com.