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History of Christmas: Prologue – A Gift of the Ages December 20, 2012

Posted by Yarnspnr in History of Christmas.
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The History of Christmas
Prologue: A Gift of the Ages
prolog

It all started some 4,000 years ago, when that first person became aware that the light from the great giver of life, the sun, dwindled away on a daily basis after crops had been harvested and the cold weather settled in for the winter . Then, by some miracle, the light started to regenerate itself and circumstance gave birth to religion.

The people of these times had a connection to the Earth they lived upon. When good things happened, they noticed it and tried to repeat the circumstances so the good thing would happen again. This is much like a baseball player who hits a game winning home run and then wears the same socks and underwear for the next ten days trying to keep the good fortune going.

But for the ancients, the shortening hours of daylight could not be left to chance. This situation had to be reversed or surely death and destruction would follow. The problem was seen in various ways. To some, the Evil had stolen the light and God had proclaimed a war upon it to regain control of the sun. Others saw only the simplicity of needing to placate God with gifts, dancing, and song in order to conciliate him into granting rebirth to the dying light.

Whatever the case, the days surrounding December 25th became an important time on many western calendars. Celebrations of one type or another grew up all across the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Even the birth of the Christian Son became attached to the pagan day of the Sun’s rebirth. And the traditions of this celebration, even those from the earliest times, have stayed with us even to today in our celebration of Christmas.

This book will contain twelve chapters –  short vignettes from a different time and place concerning the trail taken by our Christmas as we celebrate it today. I will post one chapter daily, starting on Christmas Day.

Please don’t be upset that this book does not start with the Nativity of Jesus. History has been quite clear that the birth of Jesus was NOT on December 25th. Even the Bible does not mention this date. Sadly, Jesus is not the reason for the season, as so many like to say. The traditions we celebrate at this time of year come from many peoples and cultures, each every bit as interesting and unique as the story of the birth of Christ.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Your Host,
Erick Emert

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