Christmas: Meaning and Traditions



The first Christmas was probably not on December 24th – a cold, starry night with one particular star shining to guide those to witness the birth of a child who would be called “Messiah” and “Son of God” – the messenger of salvation, hope, promise that earthly life is not the end of one’s life, and the enlightenment of the soul. There is great debate upon the exact date or even time of the year.

Later as the early Christian church formed into an organized religion, hymns in praise of that miraculous and Holy Night, were written – among the world’s most beautiful songs sung by beautiful voices throughout the history and world of Christianity. Songs I sang in churches, for singing of the hymns was and always has been the favorite part of church activities.

To the Christian, it is a time for celebration and hope that Peace on Earth would someday and there will be good will towards all in material life … truly a Holy Night

It was custom in our family (sometimes with friends) to sing Christmas songs at home on Christmas Eve, dressed in our pajamas, ready to sleep and then awaken to presents that mysteriously appeared under the Christmas tree (not a holiday tree).


Under the tree was also a manger complete with Nativity scene figures, surrounded by a white cloth to represent snow.

It combined the tradition of Saint Nicholas, a legend made from a real person who was born in what is now the Republic of Turkey. He was a different picture of what evolved into the commercialized version of today.

Saint Nicholas

Christmas is giving, not taking; Christmas is sharing special moments with loved ones, gathered together in moments away from life’s business.


A time to reflect, a time to hope for peace and prosperity, a time to be thankful for what we have, a time to honor traditions and established beliefs, wishing every day could be like Christmas.

A time to remember those that are no longer with us, a time to pray for those who cannot be home serving their country elsewhere. Troops who sing or listen to “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” with tears in their eyes, truly dreaming of being home again. God bless them and keep them safe.

A time to communicate with family whose life’s decisions and opportunities placed them elsewhere.

A time to enjoy our children before they outgrow the fun part of Christmas and the Santa Claus children’s story.

A time to continue traditions and pass on to children the reason for the season, remembering Christmas past, when life was simpler.

Alan Lehman 1988

Here in Wisconsin in a town called Darboy, a family celebrates Christmas with a spectacular light show synced with music … another wonderful aspect of the Christmas and New Year holiday season.