Over the years, I have written about the various holidays in December and the many ways to enjoy your family and friends during these festive times (and how to avoid holiday woes). But, this year, I want to express my heartfelt views by sharing with you a poignant Christmas carol that was written over 1,000 years ago called “The Holly and the Ivy.” The author of the lyrics and composer of the song are long forgotten, but the reason it has survived for centuries is the way the song’s lyrics convey the true meaning of Christmas:
The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown; of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown (Christ’s love for us). The holly bears a blossom, as white as lily flower; and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ, to be our sweet Savior (the purity of the virgin birth). The holly bears a berry, as red as any blood; and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ, to do poor sinners good (our sins are redeemed by Christ’s blood). The holly bears a prickle, as sharp as any thorn; and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day in the morn (Christ’s crown of thorns). The holly bears a bark, as bitter as any gall; and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ for to redeem us all (Christ took the burden of our sins).
Nowadays it is politically correct to say “Happy Holidays” because it is such a non-offensive way of promoting holiday cheer. If you do celebrate Christmas, there is a reason for the season. God made into man – to spread and show love through His sacrifice for mankind. The Bible foretold his birth through the prophets of the Old Testament in the Book of Isaiah (Chapter 7: Verse 14) – “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (literally God-With-Us). I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!