Jesus The True Meaning of Christmas

“Jesus Christ” the True Meaning of Christmas.
Journey with Shepherds and the Angels.
St. Nicholas; The Origins of Santa Claus.

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Jesus Christ the Messiah

We always think of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ as a season of giving… but truly Christmas is a Season of Receiving. Christmas is a time to receive and accept the greatest Gift from God – “Jesus Christ.” Christmas is a time to receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and souls. Christmas is a time to open our hearts and our minds to God. Christmas is a time to receive God’s tender mercy, abundant love, forgiveness, and grace!

Christmas is a time to give ourselves to Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, into our very lives… Joyful Giving becomes a part of our lives; not just at Christmas but all through the year! In fact we begin to look for ways to give; we look for people in need. As the church, we become the heart of Christ, the eyes, ears, feet, and hands of Christ we look for ways to unselfishly Give and Serve others!

When we receive the Gift of God’s love through Jesus Christ, Giving is a natural byproduct… loving God, loving others, serving God, serving others, Giving is a natural result of what we want to do!

This Christmas open up your heart. Let God’s love in. Receive the Gift of God’s love – “Jesus Christ.”

View as a PDF file

Keeping Christmas in perspective.

Jesus Christ the True Meaning of Christmas,
Shepherds and the Angels,
St. Nicholas; Origins of Santa Claus.

Christian Answers

What are some of the most common misconceptions
About Jesus Christ’s birth?

Christian Answers/Misconceptions About Christmas/

Christmas celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ; born in Bethlehem… Born in a manger.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem (65 miles from Jerusalem), fled to Egypt with his parents when he was a baby to escape from King Herod who was jealous of the disillusioned threat of Jesus being King of the Israelites wanted to murder Jesus to save his (Herod’s throne: Rule, Power, and Wealth)

Jesus grew up in Joseph's hometown of Nazareth in northern Palestine, and worshiped at the Temple as a boy/and as a man in Jerusalem. He did a great deal of his preaching and teaching in the north, around the Sea of Galilee, but he also had friends he visited frequently in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. Many of his disciples came from the small towns around the Sea of Galilee.

The exact date of Jesus’ birthday is NOT known! Pope Julius the First is credited with fixing the date of Christmas on December 25 in the fourth century.

Christmas Season in the Church actually begins on Christmas Eve (not right after Thanksgiving as the stores lead us to believe) and ends at Epiphany, January 6th.

Wherever you see a lighted Christmas tree, let it call to mind the One who brings light to our darkness, healing our brokenness, and peace to all who receive him. NUMC

Jesus is for Everyone!

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds and the Angels
Luke 2:8-11

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all of the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

When Jesus was first born He was not revealed to great kings, but to the shepherds in the fields. Shepherds were lowly and were considered spiritually unclean to even worship in the synagogue. Shepherds were at the bottom of society.

The manger was a food trough made for animals to eat out of; not very fitting for a King. This is one of the first hint/references of how Jesus would be the bread of life for mankind.

As soon as Jesus is born almost everything you need to know is told here!

As soon as Jesus is born we are told, “Do not be afraid.” This is a common theme repeated many times in the Bible. We are also told that Jesus is the “Good News,” that God is for ALL people, and that Jesus is the Savior.

YouTube Charlie Brown Christmas Message by Linus
From the mouth of babes, from the Charlie Brown's Christmas Special we hear from Linus, the True Meaning of Christmas.

Do You need help finding meaning during the Holiday season?
Are Presents the Reason for the Season?
Out of control consumerism, consumption, and debt that we cannot afford!

Redemption Church Plano, TX

Reason for the Season
Redemption Church Plano, TX

“Silent Night, Holy Night” we are all familiar with this Christmas Carol. We have all heard it a million times and most of us know all of the words by heart. On one Christmas Eve service the sanctuary was darkened, the choir walked down the aisles carrying lighted candles. The procession filled the aisles. The angelic voices filled the air, “Si-lent Night, Ho-ly Night.” The flicker of light from the candles on the cross and on the chortler’s angelic faces was truly a magnificent revelation. You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sweet, Sweet Spirit
There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
and I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;
there are sweet expressions on each face,
and I know they feel the presence of the Lord

You can be touched by the Holy Spirit! This was the first time the song really ever meant anything to me! It was a revelation. This was wisdom granted me to see the deeper, holy, solemn, and sacred true meaning of the song. I now recognized the song as something NEW.

What I want for Christmas!

Dear Lord, what do I want for Christmas?

You are all that I want, O Lord
You are all that I need,
You are my heart’s desire.
You are my portion, O Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
I ask with all my heart
to have mercy on me,
as you have promised!

I have considered my ways,
and promise to follow your instructions.
I will hasten and not delay
to follow your commands.
I will not forget your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who love you.
The earth is filled with your love, O Lord.
Psalm 119:57-64 Adapted

When friends and family ask us what we got for Christmas, let us not with not speak reluctantly or timidly, but with confidence and faith proclaim to them when they ask,

‘What did you get for Christmas?’
Baby Jesus

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’

‘What did you get for Christmas?’
My Savior

‘What did you get for Christmas?’
Lord Jesus Christ

Some people would think that this reply meant that we didn’t get anything for Christmas. Unfortunately many people live in darkness and do not know the love of Jesus Christ... they just don’t GET it!

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts we can give all year:
A Smile, a Tear,
A Hug, a Handshake,
Hope, Faith,
Love, Compassion,
Forgiveness, and Grace.

A shoulder to lean on.
We can lend a hand.
We can encourage and lift up.
We can Listen, Lend an ear.
Give our Thankfulness and Appreciation;

There are many more of these gifts....
We can give them our Prayers,
And our Blessings, and
Point the Way to God!

If one falls down
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:10

The journey of Advent to Christmas
has been a wonderful adventure.
(Getting there has been half the fun!)
And the journey continues to Epiphany!

Mary treasured up these things
and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

His name is Emanuel
“God is with us.”

The flame of each new candle reminds us
that Christ has come,
that Christ is with us today
(in the form of His Church and the Holy Spirit),
and that Christ will come again.

Every night we need to light
and relight the candles
in our heart
of love,
hope, faith,
and thanksgiving.

Jesus Christ the Christmas Story by Bible Basics
A video essay of the Advent Story; the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ the Christmas Story by Bible Basics
Windows Media Video

St. Nicholas

The origins of Santa Claus, good ol’ St. Nick, originate from Nicholas who was born in the third century in Patara, a village in what is modern day Turkey. His parents were wealthy and raised him to be a devout Christian. His parents taught him to be generous to others, especially those in need. After his parents died in an epidemic, Nicholas used his family fortune to help the people in need, the sick, the hungry, the suffering, and the poor. Nicholas literally obeyed Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and to give to the poor.”

Nicholas dedicated his whole life to unselfishly serving God. While Nicholas was still a young man he became the Bishop of Myra. Nicholas became known for his generosity, his love for children, and his love for ships, and sailors. Nicholas became known as a saint in his own lifetime. He became the patron saint of children and sailors.

The Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, imprisoned Nicholas. After his release from prison, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

On December 6, AD 343, St. Nicholas died in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Poor Man and Three Daughters

Through the centuries many stories have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. One story tells of a poor man with three lovely daughters. In medieval times for a daughter to be married, the father would offer perspective husbands with a dowry – the larger the dowry the better the chance of finding a good husband. Without a good dowry a woman was unlikely to be married and without a dowry the daughters would most likely be sold into slavery! The poor man lost his business to misfortune. He loved his daughters and did not want to sell them into slavery. He thought he would sell the oldest daughter and use the proceeds for dowries for the two remaining daughters.

The night before the first daughter was to be sold, Nicholas with 3 small bags of gold, one bag of gold for each daughter, quietly approached their house and tossed the 3 bags of gold through an open window, some say the bags of gold were thrown down the chimney, and then St. Nicholas would quickly vanished before anyone could see him. Legend has it that the bags of gold tossed through the window or chimney landed in stockings and shoes left by the fireplace to dry. This led to the custom of Santa coming down the chimney and children hanging stockings on the fireplace mantle and putting out shoes, to await gifts from St. Nicholas. The three bags of gold are often represented as oranges placed in stockings. This began the legend of St. Nicholas or St. Nick as he is often referred to today as a generous gift-giver.

St. Nicholas as the Bishop of Myra became acutely aware of the people’s needs. St. Nicholas was well known as a holy man who would appear all over town to help anyone in need and then to quickly disappear!

St. Nicholas the Origin of Santa Claus

St. Nicholas is the origin of Santa Claus, but through the centuries others have helped to shape today’s image of Santa Claus. In 1823 Clement Clark Moore (some attribute this poem to Henry Livingston) wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” now better known as “The Night Before Christmas” with a full description of Santa Claus:

He was dressed all in fur,
From his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all
Tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler
Just opening his pack.

His eyes – how they twinkled!
His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
His nose like a cheery!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as snow;

The stump of a pipe he held in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly elf....

This is when St. Nicholas tall and thin wearing a Bishop’s hat changed into today’s modern Santa Claus.

In 1863, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began drawings in Harper’s Weekly, which were based on “The Night Before Christmas” and the works of Washington Irving.

But in the 1930’s the quintessential Santa Claus as we know and love him today was the American “Coke” Santa by Haddon Sundblom. This promotion is still popular today!

The name Santa Claus comes from the German Sankt Niklaus and the Dutch Sinterklass.

Christmas is always ushered in by animals.

· The Three Wise Men are known for riding camels to bring their gifts to the Christ Child.

· St. Nicholas is known for riding a white horse when making his gift-giving rounds.

· Santa Claus is known for his sled pulled by eight flying reindeer and “Rudolph” the red-nosed reindeer when making his gift-giving rounds.

Santa Claus and St. Nicholas

Excerpts from St. Nicholas Center Written by J. Rosenthal & C. Myers

Santa Claus belongs to childhood;
St. Nicholas models for all life.

Santa Claus encourages consumption;
St Nicholas encourages compassion.

Santa Claus appears each year to be seen
and heard for a short time;
St. Nicholas is part of the communion of saints,
surrounding us always with prayer and example.

Santa Claus flies through the air – from the North Pole;
St. Nicholas walked the earth – caring for those in need.

Santa Claus, for some, replaces the Babe of Bethlehem;
St. Nicholas, for all, points to the Babe of Bethlehem.

Santa Claus is often seen in stores;
St. Nicholas is often seen in churches.

Santa Claus is round and plump;
St. Nicholas is tall and thin.

Santa Claus wears a stocking cap;
St. Nicholas wears a Bishop’s hat.

Santa Claus comes on December 25th.
St. Nicholas comes on December 6th.

Santa Claus isn’t bad;
St. Nicholas is just better.

St. Nicholas, lover of the poor and patron saint of children, is a model of how Christians are meant to live. A priest, a bishop, Nicholas put Jesus Christ at the center of his life, his ministry, his entire existence. Families, churches, and schools are embracing true St. Nicholas traditions as one way to claim the true center of Christmas – the birth of Jesus. Such a focus helps restore balance to increasingly materialistic, and stress-filled Advent. Reprinted from Saint Nicholas * Origin of Santa

St. Nicholas Center

Jesus is Better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks..
and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did.
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and…
He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.
Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.
It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

May the Lord Bless and Watch over you and your loved ones this Christmas 2009 And may He prosper and bless the work of your hands in the New Year.

Author Unknown

I am not trying to be a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch” about Santa Claus and Christmas. I just believe that the main focus of Christmas should be on the birth of the Christ Child, Jesus. When we loose the central meaning of Christmas, all of the peripheral customs of Christmas become less! We cheat ourselves when Jesus is not the “center” of our Christmas! Christmas offers us a great wealth of beautiful stories and customs. Santa Claus should be so much more than a “Pitch Man” selling us merchandise!

Social Justice & Injustice
Political Commentary
Lessons learned from Mister Magoo’s “A Christmas Carol;”
the Christmas classic written by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is a sad commentary of the injustices, which still continue to this day; Oppression of the poor, the hungry, and the sick, the homeless, children, the elderly, the unemployed and underemployed, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination!

Is there a Santa Claus? Francis P. Church said it best in 1897 in his letter:
“Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.”

Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus.

This is from the Editorial Page of the New York Sun
written by Francis P. Church
September 21, 1897.

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanion
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little mind. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. He exist as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but not even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would it prove? Nobody can see Santa Claus, but there is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in this world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but when there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

History of the Candy Cane

There is much Christian symbolism given to the familiar candy canes that are popular holiday treats and decorations today. The belief that the candy cane is the letter “J” representing Jesus is a 20th century invention. The shape of the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook reminding us that Jesus Christ is the “Good Shepherd” who lay down his life for his sheep (John 10:12) and that humble shepherds were the first to worship the newborn Baby Jesus.

Legend has it that in 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral handed out candy sticks in the shape of a shepherd’s crook to children in the choir to keep them quiet during the long Nativity ceremony.

In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant decorated a Christmas tree with paper ornaments and candy canes. The flavor of peppermint is similar to hyssop, another member of the mint family that was used for purification and sacrifice and symbolizes the purity of Jesus and the sacrifices he made for us. The red and white stripes and peppermint flavorings were popularized in the early 1900’s.

Candy Cane Symbols

Candy canes point the way to God. The white of the candy cane represents “purity,” of the Virgin Birth. Also the white of the candy cane reminds us that Jesus was the “sinless” Lamb of God without spot or blemish.

The candy cane is made from rock-hard candy symbolizing Jesus as the Rock:

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my strength, in whom I trust; my buckler,
and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalms 18:2

“Genuine” candy canes had three small red stripes and one large red stripe on them. The three red stripes represent the Holy Trinity; God the Holy Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The three stripes also represent the scourging Jesus received before his crucifixion. The large stripe symbolizes the blood Christ shed on the cross for us.Think of how much more meaning there is to hanging candy canes on the Christmas tree with this knowledge. We need to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

St. Francis and the Nativity Creche

St. Francis originated the Nativity Creche scene for Christmas. St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) in his Life of St. Francis of Assisi tells the story the best:

"It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Grecio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [St. Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff. Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem. A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvelously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep. This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles, which afterwards confirmed its truth. For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles."

Are you too busy for Jesus at Christmas?

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

Luke 10:42 Some manuscripts but few things are needed — or only one

Take Time to be Holy Hymn #395

Jesus at the Home of Martha and Mary
Before Christmas

This is Christian-Fiction, an updated, contemporary, parody of Luke 10:38-42

It was about one week before Christmas and Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Martha came to Jesus and complained,

“I still have Christmas cards to write and invitations to mail! I have gifts that need wrapping and I still have more shopping to do. I’m still working on decorations and there is much housework that still needs to be done. I need to defrost the turkey, go to the grocery store, buy those last minute items, and start preparing and cooking dinner! I want everything to be perfect! Lord, I have too much work to sit and listen to you right now! Maybe I’ll have time later!”

"Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Question: Are you too busy for Jesus at Christmas? Are you going to make time for Jesus this Christmas?

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Christmas Prayers help to have a STRESS-FREE
& Meaningful Christmas!

Gift of the Magi
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

Next: Epiphany

Social Justice & Injustice
Political Commentary
Lessons learned from Mister Magoo’s “A Christmas Carol;”
the Christmas classic written by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is a sad commentary of the injustices, which still continue to this day; Oppression of the poor, the hungry, and the sick, the homeless, children, the elderly, the unemployed and underemployed, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination!

"Its an Unwonderful Life" is a parody of the 1946 Christmas classic, Frank Capras's "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart and Donna Reed. Join our Bailey as he struggles with problems and contemplates suicide. Bailey meets his guardian angel and they travel back into the past and travel into the future of "what could happen."

The twist this time is their startling conclusion that the world would be better off without Bailey! What a predicament; will Bailey jump or not jump from the bridge into the icy waters below? Join Bailey on his Christmas Eve roller coaster of a ride of Faith or Fear. Christian-fiction written by Osten Aune. Though “It’s an Unwonderful Life” is Christian-Fiction, this story is not a story written for young children. If this were a movie I would give it a PG-13 rating.