Two weeks ago my wife and I took our three boys (ages 2, 4, 7) to the children’s museum here in Indy. While here, we were excited to learn that the museum was doing a winter/holiday theme. We were given tickets to the winter presentation at the planetarium by a random stranger.
During our time I learned a lot of awesome things about where some of our cultural practices in the celebration of Christmas are rooted. One really interesting fact I learned was that the winter solstice was a largely celebrated pagan “holiday”. One of the pagan practices was to hang wreathes of evergreens around the doors to ward off evil spirits and as a sign of eternal life.
Once Christianity was established in the Roman empire and it became a widespread holiday, a lot of the pagan practices were adopted into “Christmas” as a result of their historic cultural traditions. Today, evergreens are a symbol of the season and all the warmth that Christmas season brings.
We remember waiting in expectation for Christ’s birth and we wait in expectation of His return. Along the way, we celebrate, decorate, and take joy in what this season is about. Some may believe that such practices, rooted in such a manner, should be abandoned. I say, what better way to celebrate God’s Grace?
What I love about Christ and His Grace is that through Him, God can take something that is not of Him and make it for Him. Just like the evergreens were once a part of a non-christian practice and were later adopted as part of a Christian celebration so God takes us, having no real purpose, and gives us purpose. He does not abandon us. He does not through us out because of our ugly roots. He changes us. He resurrects us. He forgives us. His great plan was revealed through Jesus and I am so thankful for His gift that came to earth on Christmas.