Our Christmas celebrations begin in December, sometimes sooner, but do we know when the first Christmas observance began?
My research reveals this happy holiday has been observed for hundreds and thousands of years.
We have records of Christmas hymns written as far back as AD 400. By AD 1200, people enjoyed Christmas music with both religious and secular themes. Artists expressed versions of the Christmas story in their work. Sandro Botticelli painted the Adoration of the Magi and Johann Sebastian Bach composed the Christmas Oratorio. Charles Dickens taught readers to understand the spirit of Christmas through the tales of Ebenezer Scrooge in The Christmas Carol.
Church and secular groups promote the season. Some may observe Christmas only as a happy holiday; however, there’s a connection to Jesus behind our holiday customs. For example, the poinsettia, Flor de la Noche Buena, means flower of the holy night. And how about kissing each other when caught beneath the mistletoe? In Scandinavia, a kiss beneath the mistletoe signified a truce between enemies. Even our traditional gift exchange mimics the magi’s gifts to baby Jesus.
Before cards, before egg nog, and way before stores stocked their holiday aisle, a host of angels sang the first Christmas song to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.”
We can observe the holiday in a holly, jolly way. But how do we get that peace and good will? The first step is acknowledging Jesus as your personal Savior.
Take the first step toward peace on earth by following the lead of the shepherds. Bow down and pray. Accept Jesus into your life, and then open your gift—the inner peace that comes from accepting Jesus as the Son of God.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)