What Comes To Mind When You Think Of Christmas? Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, of Course!
It’s ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!! Are you excited? Do you have all your Christmas shopping done? Are you going to be spending time with family and friends during your absence from school? I think I am ready for Christmas….It doesn’t feel like it should be Christmas already. I still have a lot of things to do before Jesus arrives in the manger, but I think I am ready for Christmas.
Over the past several weeks, we have been answering the question, “What comes to mind when you think of Christmas?” We have talked about Christmas Trees and Christmas Wreathes, and last week we talked about that famous red-and-white hooked Christmas treat, Candy Canes. Do any of you remember what the Candy Cane teaches us about Jesus? Let me remind you:
When flipped upside down, the candy cane looks like a “J” and “J” is for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day. When you turn the “J” upside down, it looks like a hook or a staff. This hook or staff reminds us of the shepherds in the field, who were attending their flock by night and who were also the first people to find out that Jesus had been born. What about the red and white stripes? What do they represent? When Jesus grew to be a man, some Roman soldiers arrested him. They beat him so hard that his blood ran down like red stripes. But Jesus asked God to forgive those soldiers. He forgives all people when they ask him. So the red stripes remind us that Jesus gave us the great gift of forgiveness when he died on the cross. Furthermore, the white stripes remind us that Jesus rose from the dead and our hearts are washed clean from the sin when we give our lives to him: we have been made clean and forgiven. So, as you can see, the Candy Cane is more than a sweet treat with a hook, it actually teaches us about Jesus and everything that he has done and is doing for us so that we will always be loved and forgiven. Pretty neat, right?
Today, I want to share something else with you that comes to mind when I think of Christmas. When I think of Christmas, I think about Advent and the candles that we light each Sunday. These candles represent HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE. From these candles, we are reminded of the hope, peace, joy, and love that Jesus gives us every day of our life: they are sort of like Christmas presents given to us from Jesus. To try to remember these words, I thought we could create Christmas acronyms for them. What do you think about that?
H.O.P.E. – H is for holly, O is for ornament, P is for presents, E is for elves – Helping Out People Everywhere
P.E.A.C.E. – P is presents, E is eggnog, A is for advent/angels, C is for chocolate/cookies/candy canes/carolers, E is for evergreen – People Everywhere Are Created Equally
J.O.Y. – J is for Jesus/jingle bells/jolly (old St. Nick), O is for ornaments/overjoyed, Y is for yuletide/you – Jesus Others Yourself
L.O.V.E. – L is for (Christmas) lights, O is for offering, V is Vixen/vacation, E is for Emmanuel (God is with us) – Let Our Voices Encourage
You see, it’s not just decorations or treats that remind us of Jesus, even words that we say during Christmas can remind us of Jesus! The next time you hear someone say hope, peace, joy, or love, remember Jesus and the presents he has given you!
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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