Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent Day 11-

12/11/14- It's Red and Green day. Let's learn why those are the colors that represent Christmas! We will eat red and green snacks and color Christmas pictures using ONLY red and green.

So anyone else ever wonder why red and Green are associated with Christmas?  I did and the kids have asked in the past, so I incorporated it into Advent this year so that they (and I!) actually remember what they represent!

Interestingly in Europe in the middle ages, Passion plays were often performed on Christmas eve.  Because many people couldn't read the bible for themselves, they told bible stories through the play.  Because it was winter, the "paradise" tree in the garden of Eden was normally a evergreen tree with red apples tied onto it.

Evergreen plants, in general, have been used throughout history to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long winter.  Some felt evergreens were a reminder that spring would come again.  Romans exchanged evergreen branches in January as a sign of good luck.  Egyptians brought palm branches into their homes to decorate during mid winter festivals.

Red holly berries have been used by Christians for centuries as a symbol of the blood of Christ.  They actually predate Christmas- the Romans celebrated Saturnalia in December and gave wreaths of Holly as gifts.  In the 4th century, the leaders of the Catholic church moved the celebration of Christmas to December 25 to usurp Saturnalia and it's pagan celebrations.  Christians began take the holly and berries and make them into crosses to represent the blood of Christ and the life offered in him.

Red is also the color of bishops robes and would have been the color Saint Nicholas wore...hence why Santa Claus wears red.

There are much more facts and details to be found...give it a look, it's quite fascinating!

Some Christians struggle with Christmas being celebrated on December 25 as it isn't Christ's actual birthday and because it was originally a pagan holiday, but I find something so redemptive in usurping pagan traditions to glorify Christ.  I love that Christians took Holly and Berries and made crosses!  I love that green and red are found through out winter, from berries and evergreen trees to cardinals that don't migrate like other birds.  I love the stark contrast of red in the bleak of winter, it reminds me of the powerful intrusion Christ's blood has made into my bleak life.

For those curious about my red and green snacks- We had Dannon Danimals yogurt smoothies christmas edition and Pepperidge farm red and green goldfish.  YAY! for companies that naturally color their foods!!!

My very favorite Christmas picture was Phin's...I still laugh looking at it.  He drew Santa Claus, but because he's red and green he looks a bit a lot like the Grinch.

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