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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Twelve Books of Christmas (at least in our house!) - Books 10 and 11

My family and I love everything about Christmas ... the joyous spirit, the generosity, the kindness that seems to be more abundant this time of year ... and, yes, Santa too! But, we also celebrate Jesus' birth as the reason for everything Christmas!

So, with that in mind, I'm doing a double-book-post today ... about two legends ... that of the Christmas Tree and the Candy Cane.

Have you heard the one about the Candy Cane? Not the joke ... the legend? It's so cool. A stranger comes into town, and sets up a candy shop (you can just hear the children's cheers!), where he introduces a mysterious, oddly-shaped red and white striped confection. The townspeople soon learn that the candy cane is a special Christmas candy because 1) it is shaped like the letter 'J' ... which stands for Jesus, born on Christmas day; 2) if you flip it the opposite direction, it looks like a shepherd's staff ... for the shepherds in the field, watching over their flocks by night; 3) it has red stripes ... representing the blood Jesus shed when he died on the cross; and 4) it has white stripes ... to represent pureness and sins washed away by the blood of Jesus.

In "The Legend of the Christmas Tree", a family in search of the perfect Christmas tree makes their way through thick fog to a tree farm, which seems to appear out of nowhere, and is operated by a kind, grandfatherly man who seems to have been expecting them.

They notice three large, beautiful ... and perfectly identical Christmas trees ... one of which has a lovely, silver box sitting beneath it.

The man explains to the family that the trees and the secret in the silvery box tell the legend of the Christmas tree. And so, we learn that 1) one tree has three corners, representing God in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; 2) trees were first decorated with apples and twists of bread to tell the story of the tree in the Garden of Eden; 3) Martin Luther then put candles on his tree to represent the story of Jesus' (the light of the world) birth; and 4) people in Europe then added beautiful ornaments to their trees, as a way to celebrate Jesus' birth.

After hearing the legend, the family is given the perfect Christmas tree ... and the beautiful silver box, with instructions not to open it until they have finished decorating their tree. Any guesses on what was in the box?

A star ... the Christmas star ... with a note that reads, "Just as the wise men found Jesus under the star of Bethlehem, may all who see the tree that is under this star hear and understand the true meaning of Christmas."

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

5 comments:

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hi Kelly!
Both books look great...I've always loved the candy cane as a shepherd's staff, but never thought about it as the letter J!

I hope you and your family have a very special Christmas!
Becky

Jeff B said...

They both sound like fantastic books that highlight Christ's birth as the true meaning of Christmas.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Gottawrite Girl said...

I like that, bread twists for the Holy Ghost. That's special...

My mom and dad used to decorate the tree with candycanes when they had little money.

There's always a way to make the holidays homey!!!!

Kelly Hoeckelberg-Young said...

Rebecca, Jeff, and Susan! Thanks so much for your wonderful comments ... and thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed Christmas!

Terra said...

Hi Kelly,
I love Christmas too, so much so that I co-wrote a book about celebrating Christmas and putting Jesus front and center in our celebrations.
Nice to meet you here.
Terra