Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Why's of (some) Christmas Traditions

Good morning is Wednesday!
We should all get EXCITED!!!
because if you are counting down...there are only 11 days 'til Christmas!


I thought i would allow a recent book i read to inspire today's post. 
It's also helpful that it's Advent Season which helps this post.
(as a side note: Mr. Pancakes and i are plugging away at accomplishing the tasks on our Advent Calendar.)

Team Pancakes will not be decorating a christmas tree this year 
because frankly our studio is too small and it just wouldn't be the same.
Which has lead me to admire the beautifully decorated Chistmas trees online.
In doing this...i started wondering...
Why do we use Christmas trees? 
And why specifically the fir tree?
Why do we decorate our trees and homes with lights anyway?  

I LOVE Christmas for all the reasons behind it, the birth of Jesus 
and what His birth means to those who are believers. 
And it was helpful to read, Christmas is Not Your Birthday 
by Mike Slaughter, to remind me of the reason.
I struck by his insightful and thoughtfulness during the read.  
And it was also great because Mr. Slaughter helped me answer my questions.

Why we use Christmas trees? And why specifically the fir tree?
According to Slaughter, "we have adopted the practice of decorating the evergreen as a symbol of eternal life-a reminder to stay focused on things eternal."  Furthermore, the "tannenbaum (fir tree) was the only tree that didn't seem to die during the winter.  It stayed ever green."

I thought this statement was pretty insightful. 
And wow...the fir tree does remain gree throughout the harshest seasons 
just like how Jesus remains eternal in our lives throughout our harshest seasons. 


Why do we decorate our trees and homes with lights?  
According to Slaughter, "candles were used to signify Christ as light of the world...before the Santa legend, Christians would place candles in their windows to welcome the Christ Child, who was looking for places where he would be invited in."

This was great because the author reminded me again the reason for the season.  
It's important to remember the "why's" of some of our Christmas traditions.  
He reminds us that Christmas is a "great time to focus on life priorities that really matter 
(faith, family, friends, service)."

When we put up our first Christmas tree and decorate it with lights and line our homes with candles,
 Slaughter reminds us to do this "to welcome the lost and lonely--and welcome Jesus himself".


Sometimes as a culture, we get caught up in traditions just because that's the way it's always been done...i am realizing the importance of understanding the "why's of some traditions."  After all, one day i will have a Baby Pancakes and he will want to know, "Mommy, why can't we put lights on tree during summertime?"

Question of the Day
What are some of your favorite Christmas Traditions
 and why do you engage in them?


Miss Amy said...

This post just made me SO excited for Christmas. The smell of the Christmas tree is such an incredible one. I love when the pine scent fills the living room. I sometimes wish I could keep lights on the trees all year long. :) They're so happy looking! Thanks for the interesting info!

Marisa A. said...

The christmas tree is my favorite tradition. I loved decorating with my family while listening to Christmas music. And for some of us, Christmas IS our birthday ;)

just tututiny said...

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Heather said...

I love everything about the Christmas season, including putting up a tree, sending cards, enjoying tasty holiday treats and giving back to others. It's such a warm and joyous time of year!

Rocker Chic said...

Mrs. P

I throughly enjoyed this post I learned a lot of info I had no clue those trees were called Fir trees I always referred to them as Pine trees eeeeeeeek but now thanks to your info I stand corrected.

The book you read sounds really interesting I am going to def have to check it out.

P.s. Thanks for reminding me that I am a huge slacker only 11 days left to Christmas and I have purchased 0 gifts.

Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing! I didn't know the meaning of these two things, and I'm glad to see they have some tie-in to Christ. One of my family's favorite traditions is making a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day. A lot of people have fancy desserts after their big fancy meals, but we always just eat a simple birthday cake, after we sing happy birthday to Jesus. And we just use one candle-I am the way, the truth and the light :)

Sam {} said...

so interesting!! i love learning the meanings behind traditions.

Carlie said...

I remember learning about that as kid from my parents, but have forgotten. Thanks for the reminder! It is always good to remember the true meaning of Christmas!

meme-and-he said...

its funny how we all just do things because we were brought up that way...without stopping to think why! this was interesting!

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

I love the why behind it all. My mom still puts candles in the windows. :)

This Cookn' Mom said...

I love the Christmas season. My mom use to teach us about the beginnings of all the traditions when we were younger. I was just telling my kiddos the other day what Christmas is all about.

Diedra B said...

no tree here either. . .there's just no room and honestly, it's a little bit of a hassle.
I'd rather put my time into writing and mailing greeting cards for the season

Angela of "Grahangela" said...

I love that last picture of the scripture verse in the tree shape! So creative. I love any reminder of why we truly celebrate this season.

Decorating the Christmas tree and looking at Christmas lights are two of my FAVORITE traditions! Love love love this time of year!


Thanks for sharing this! I love to decorate a tree but we don't do it every single year. Depends on where we're spending the holidays and what else is going on in our lives. The majority of years we do though. And we did this year. I couldn't be happier. It brings me such calm and joy :) xoxo

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Thanks so much for the explanations! My husband has been obsessed with getting a fir tree (which we did) but it is hard to get in our tropical corner of the world. It is interesting to see the rationale behind it!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Tamra {walkswithBella} said...

Traditions are what makes the holidays so special. I love our Christmas eve traditions of pjs. xo

Bravoe Runway said...

Sorry to hear you won't be putting up a tree this year due to space! My family doesn't really have any xmas traditions...

Monique said...

I really like hanging up lights because they represent so many things. They can represent the north star. They can also represent that we are nearing the shortest day of the year (1st day of winter) We have lots of dark days so it's nice to celebrate with light. Light represents so much promise. We decorated a tree for the first time this year. 11 days and I haven't bought a single gift! Happy Holidays lady!

Closet Fashionista said...

Such a great post! It really is important for us to remember the meaning of Christmas because so many people get caught up in the materialistic part of it...myself included

The white cabbage said...

that's really interesting !
I called if pine tree !

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ciao ave

LV said...

Great food for thought. I always look forward to decorating the tree with my son.

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TheProDiva said...

I am so glad you posted this! SO many times we go along with traditions without really knowing why. I learned about the significance of the Christmas tree and light a little while back, and I was once again reminded about the reason for the season. This sounds like an interesting book, and I think I will buy it for my parents...but I may need to read it first! Thanks for sharing!

Clara Turbay said...

lovely choices!