08 December 2010

Sorrow and Triumph

Welcome to the Neighborhood News

What comes to your mind when you see the colors red and green? What if you add white? Personally, I think of some country flags. To name a few: Algeria, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon and Mexico share those colors.

But we’re not talking about flags today. Universally, red and green are considered the colors of Christmas. Let me share how that came to be.

In the 14th century the Catholic church would put out ‘miracle plays,’ which were plays they used to teach people about religion. Since the majority of the people that attended those events were illiterate, they used props to teach.

One of those props was the paradise tree or ‘paradiesbaum’, which was used to teach about Adam and Eve, and the Fall. Since the plays were done mostly in December, in the middle of winter, there were no apple trees to use, so they replaced them with evergreens and hung apples from them. From that simple act our Christmas tree tradition was born.

Even if most people accept red and green as traditional Christmas colors, their meaning is widespread.

Red symbolizes the blood that Christ shed for all of us.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Hebrews 13:12)

Green represents everlasting life, brought to us by His infinite sacrifice.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

White stands for purity.

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalms 51:7)

The purpose of all this was to use the colors as reminders of Christ to any who wished to celebrate the birth of the Son of God. It’s my hope that we can keep them in our hearts and remember to teach our children the reason why we decorate our homes the way we do.

Sources: here, here and here.

To view a copy of the Neighborhood News for Wednesday, 8 December, please click here.

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