Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's all about symbolism to help remind us what Christmas is really all about

Oh the weather outside is frightful, and sitting around a fire would be  delightful. Wish we didn't have so many places to go-oh well, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
 Did you know...the Guinness Book of World Records states that the largest reported snowflake was fifteen inches across and eight inches thick. I am sure they don't get that big here in Idaho, but "baby it's cold outside!"
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What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.  It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
 Agnes M. Pharo
Even though the Esslinger boys are currently living with Grandma and Grandpa "Fred" still found them just to be sure that they were NOT being naughty, but nice.
Grandpa got his first Christmas train to put around the Christmas tree. 
A new tradition for us and one that brought about some memories of Christmas past.

You might remember from Dr. Seuss's holiday story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that the devilish Grinch was determined to rob Who-ville of every holiday treat. In a nefarious scheme in which the Grinch dressed as Santa himself, he moved through Who-ville taking every package, tree, ornament, and stocking.  Then as he leaves the city, pretty pleased with himself over the supposed pain he will have caused the children, 

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!
“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply MUST hear!”So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

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(Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New York: Random House, 1957.)
Part of the reason for me re-telling the story is, one I just love Dr. Seuss and two, to help remind each of us that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Indeed, it “means a little bit more.”  

The dictionary defines the word symbolism as a means to imbue objects with a certain meaning that is different from their original meaning or function.  Authors use symbolism to tie certain things that may initially seem unimportant to more universal themes. The symbols then represent these grander ideas or qualities. So as it is with Christmas.
 Unlike any other tree, fir trees stay green and living throughout winter, representing the eternal nature of God. The triangle shape of a Christmas tree can also serve to remind us of the three members of the Godhead.
Gifts are a Christmas tradition that began with the Wise Men. Now these gifts should remind us of the greatest gift of all, the gift of a Savior.

"Christmas means giving.  The father gave HIS SON, and the Son gave His life.
Without giving there is no true Christmas and without sacrifice there is no true worship".
Gordon B. Hinckley
 Christmas carols represent songs sung by the angels  when they proclaimed the birth of the Savior.
The dove signifies peace on earth and the peace bestowed by the Holy Ghost.
 One reason poinsettias are so popular at Christmastime is their symbolism, the shape of the poinsettia symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, which; led the wise men to Jesus. The red-colored leaves symbolizes the blood of Christ. White leaves represent His purity.

Angels remind us of heavenly messengers who proclaimed Christ's birth.
 The candy cane can be symbolic in many ways;
The hard candy reminds us that Jesus Christ is our rock. The shape can either be a shepherd's staff-teaching us that Christ is the Good Shepherd-or if turned upside down, a J, standing for Jesus. The red color reminds us of the Atonement Christ came to fulfill, and the color white signifies His purity and perfection.
 Bells have traditionally been used to indicate the beginning of a religious service, and what more joyous event than the birth of our Savior?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than things.  To catch the real meaning of the "spirit of Christmas, " we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the 
"Spirit of Christ."
-Thomas S. Monson

 Merry Christmas!

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