The Meaning of Christmas

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened.
I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing
to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened
the door to the front room, and to my surprise,
Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.
He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out.

“What are you doing?” I started to ask him. The words choked in my
throat, as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was
gone. Gone was the eager boisterous soul we all know. He then
answered me with a simple statement, TEACH THE CHILDREN!
I was puzzled: What did he mean? He anticipated my question,
and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature
toy bag from behind the tree.

As I stood there bewildered, Santa said, Teach the Children!
Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that
a now-a-day Christmas has forgotten!

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it
on the mantle. Teach the Children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting
hope of mankind. All the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol
of man’s thoughts turning toward heaven.

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. Teach
the Children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago.
God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of
fulfillment of that promise.

He then reached into the bag and pulled out a CANDLE. Teach the
Children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world,
and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces
the darkness.

Once again he reached into his bag and then removed a WREATH
and placed it on the tree. Teach the Children that the wreath
symbolizes the eternal nature of love. Real love never ceases.
Love is one continuous round of affection.

He then pulled out from his bag an ornament of HIMSELF. Teach the
Children that Santa Claus symbolizes the generosity and good will we
feel during the month of December.

He reached in again and pulled out a HOLLY LEAF. Teach the Children
the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns
worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent blood shed by Him.

Next he pulled out a GIFT from the bag and said, “Teach the Children
that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Thanks
be to God for His unspeakable gift. Teach the Children that the wise men
bowed before the holy babe and presented Him with gold, frankincense,
and myrrh. We should give gifts in the same spirit as the wise men.”

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung
it on the tree. Teach the Children that the candy cane represents the
shepherd’s crook. The crook on the shepherd’s staff helps bring back
strayed sheep from the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we
are our brother’s keeper.

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. Teach the Children that
it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior’s birth.
The angels sang ‘Glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace and good

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled
out a BELL. Teach the Children that as the lost sheep are found by
the sound of a bell, it should bring people to the fold. The bell symbolizes
guidance and return.

Santa looked at the tree and was pleased. He looked back at me and
I saw the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, “Remember, teach the
Children the true meaning of Christmas, and not to put me in the center,
for I am but a humble servant of the One who is, and
I bow down and worship Him, our Lord, our God.”