Christmas Treasure Hunt
Find Jesus, the greatest Treasure of all, in these common Christmas traditions
Merry Xmas: The “X” is the Greek “Chi”, the first letter of “Christ”. The “mas” is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So “Xmas” is Christ’s Mass. An even better abbreviation is the Chi-rho (an x, the Greek letter “chi,” superimposed on P, the Greek letter “rho”–the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek).
Peace (Shalom): Shalom is utter safety, completeness, fullness, wholeness, welfare, communion with all, all debts fully paid. Jesus is Prince of Peace (Is 9:5). To receive true peace & protect it we must obey His laws of self-sacrificial love.
Happy Holidays: “Holidays” comes from “Holy Days”. Truly holy days are happy days!
Season’s Greetings: These are usually Advent greetings, since they’re most often exchanged before Christmas!
Poinsettia: “Flower of the Holy Night”. Legend has it that a poor girl who wanted a gift for Baby Jesus picked weeds for Him & they turned red when she laid them before Him. Jesus transforms everything we bring to Him in love
Bells: Church bells call us to Midnight Mass, opening of the celebration of Christmas. Bells were also sewn to the hem of the high priest’s robe (Ex 28:33), and Jesus is our new High Priest (Heb 5:8-10). Bells call us to prayer.
Star/candle/lights: Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12), the Bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16)
Santa/Stockings: “Santa” means “saint” & “Claus” is a shortened version of “Nicholas”, so “Santa Claus” is really St. Nicholas. We hang stockings because St. Nicholas is said to have thrown gold through a window to provide dowries for three poor young ladies & the gold fell into stockings hung by the fire to dry.
Wreath: Evergreens symbolize eternal life. The circle represents eternity (no beginning or end) & Jesus’ crown of thorns
Christmas tree: It’s evergreen (symbol of eternal life), triangular (symbol of the Trinity–3 in 1) & points upward to God. In medieval morality plays, Jesus restored access to Eden’s Tree of Life, represented by an evergreen.
Holly comes from the same word as “holy”. It represents Moses’ burning bush & Mary’s burning love for God. It’s evergreen (eternal life). Red berries & prickly points symbolize the blood of our redemption & the crown of thorns.
Mistletoe was believed to have powers of healing & protection. Because of its sacredness, enemies who met beneath it had to call a truce. It’s also associated with Freya, goddess of love (hence kissing under mistletoe). This tradition of protection, healing, peace & love made mistletoe a natural symbol of Christ, Love Incarnate, Who heals & protects us from sin & division. Mistletoe is evergreen (symbol of eternal life), & the white berries remind us of Jesus’ purity.
Colors of Christmas: Red: Jesus’ sacrificial love, Green: the eternal life Jesus came to bring us, White: Jesus’ purity
Caroling: We praise God for His salvation. “Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts” (Ephesians 5:19)
Feasting: Jesus spreads a supernatural feast for us every day in the Mass: Christ’s Mass.
Candy Cane: Its shape is shepherd’s crook & a “J”, for Jesus, the Good Shepherd. It’s white for His purity, red for His love & for the blood of the Passion. Three small stripes & one large one remind us that God is triune, 3 Persons in 1 Divine Nature. The candy is rock-hard, like the foundation of Jesus’ Church. Peppermint is said to taste like hyssop, an herb used in sacrifices. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us.
Deer/stag: The stag is a symbol of Christ because it’s the mortal enemy of the serpent (devil), which it always overcomes
Snow/snowmen: God’s grace, won by Jesus’ sacrifice, washes our sins whiter than snow (Is 1:18). Jesus, God’s Word, like snow, does God’s will (see Is 55:10). His garments were dazzling as snow in the Transfiguration (Mk 9:3)
Gifts: Jesus is God’s greatest gift. We recall the gifts of the magi & Jesus’ command to give ourselves to Him & to others
Angel means “messenger”. Angels proclaimed the message of Jesus’ Incarnation & they guide & guard us now
Children: Jesus came as a helpless, dependent Child. “A little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6)
Decorations/ornaments: We decorate our hearts with virtues during Advent to prepare for Jesus’ coming.