The Christmas (from Old English meaning “The Mass of Christ”) season celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. It lasts for 12 days, December 24 through January 5, the eve of the Epiphany of our Lord.
- God’s presence in human life
- God’s love for all of creation
- Paschal mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection
Color of the Season
White, a color associated with the festivals of Christ and suggesting gladness, joy and light.
The Christmas Tree
Dr. Martin Luther was one of the first to use the Christmas tree as a home decoration. While on a walk one Christmas Eve, Dr Luther noticed an evergreen tree shining in the moonlight. He couldn’t forget this beautiful picture. He returned home with an evergreen tree and decorated it with candles. Luther told his children that the tree should remind them of the brightness of Christmas and its message of the Savior’s birth. By the beginning of the 19th century, all of Germany had adopted the use of the green “Christmas” tree. They added stars, sweetmeats, tiny toys, and gilded nuts together with candles on the trees. The custom spread to England during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was married to the German Prince Albert. He wanted to have his children enjoy one of his childhood memories. Queen Victoria had a Christmas Tree in Windsor Castle in 1841. The custom of a Christmas Tree soon spread throughout Europe and then to the United States. Dr. Henry Schwan introduced the custom of a lighted Christmas tree in church, in Zion Lutheran Church in Cleveland Ohio, Christmas Eve 1851.In Germany and inancient northern cultures, after the festivities, the branches were removed and the trunk was decorated on May 1st as a May Pole, celebrating a rebirth of spring. The tree was then cut up and the largest log was used the next December as the Yule Log.
A Creche is a model of the stable in which Jesus was born. It always includes Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. Traditionally there are also angels, shepherds, sheep, wise men, camels, donkey, and other animals. Whether called the French creche, the Italian Presepio, the Spanish Nacimiento, the German Krippe, the Irish Manger, or the British Crib, the recreation of the nativity scene is one of the oldest and most sacred Christmas traditions. It was St. Francis of Assisi who created the first creche in Italy in 1223. He used real animals and people to depict the birth of the Savior. The building of creches became popular after his unique and touching re-enactment of the Nativity. Creches have now become an important part of Christmas in America and around the world. The creche reminds us to focus our Christmas celebration on the Birth of the Savior, whose Birth is the real cause for joy at Christmas.