Christmas is known for its mirth and cheerful celebration. Aside from Christmas cards and season’s greetings, people also send out Christmas gifts in different forms – be it in Christmas hampers, Christmas flower arrangements and Christmas gift basket. Now, to be fully immersed with the spirit of Christmas celebration, one must know the story of Christmas and the true meaning of it.
King Herod and Christmas
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Judaea was under the rule of King Herod. The same night that Jesus was born, three wise men were travelling across the desert when they saw a star shining very brightly in the sky. They understood it as the sign that the King of the Jews has been born, and they went to King Herod to ask where the child could be found. King Herod was afraid of losing his power and was intent to kill the newborn child. He asked the three wise men to look for the child and to inform him as soon as the child is found.
The three wise men set out in their search for the King of the Jews. Following the direction of the star, they arrived at the manger in Bethlehem where they knelt down before the Son of God. They brought with them gold, frankincense and myrrh to offer to the Holy Child. Mary thanked them for their gifts and they left to look for a place to stay.
When they slept that night, an angel appeared to them in a dream and warned them of the King’s evil plot against the child Jesus. They went back to their country but they did not tell King Herod where Jesus was. The same dream occurred to Joseph where the angel told him to flee to Egypt because King Herod was out to destroy the child.
In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated, both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper. A fir tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden — the Paradise Tree.
Christmas Stockings, Mistletoe, Holly, Ivy and Poinsettias are few other trends which mingled with the Season and used as decoration.
Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy!