"Christmas is about the birth of Christ, where God became flesh. The prophecy is fulfilled," Pastor Larry McRorey of First United Methodist Church said. "He came to save the world from their sins."
McRorey said we are reminded each Christmas of our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses just like the Christ child infant. Despite our own fears and weaknesses, God is there to sustain us and is with us through our whole life, bringing us that peace, that love and that joy, McRorey said.
The traditions have become very secularized over the years, McRorey said. But their origins have a deeply profound Christian understanding. During this time of Advent, leading up to the birth of Christ, McRorey said it is important for the church to remind people that the sacred side is more important.
McRorey spends the Sundays leading up to Christmas explaining the meaning behind the poinsettias, the holly, the Christmas wreath, the significance behind those symbols. He said the green Christmas tree is a symbol of life. The greenery is constant, it never dies, just like the love God has for all people. He said even the ornaments that adorn the church's tree are not common ornaments made in China, they're all in the shape of Christian symbols, each with deep meanings.
The Christingle service at the Methodist Church, brought over from the English tradition, symbolizes what it's all about, "not just the birth of Christ, but all the life and death and resurrection, because that is who we are, people of faith," McRorey said.
Monsignor Leonard Pivonka of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church said the spirit of giving is predominant during Christmas.
"We celebrate the birthday of the son of God. We don't understand it, but we do believe the son of God became man, born of Mary, He came among us and lived with us, suffered for us and died to redeem us," Pivonka said.
He said the Christmas season stirs the hearts of all people, and that we are surrounded during this time with special graces. God wants to impress on us during this time that He became one of us, Pivonka said.
"I think it is a time for all of us to be grateful, the greatest gift God could give us is the gift of Himself. The greatest giving is the giving of God to us, and I think through this, our existence takes meaning," Pivonka said.