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The History of Christmas: Epilogue – Time Was Is NOW December 20, 2012

Posted by Yarnspnr in History of Christmas.
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The History of Christmas
Epilogue: Time Was, Is Now

 

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My twelve day look at the History of Christmas is over. Obviously, there are many other significant entries I could have made and you might be wondering why I chose what I did and left out other seemingly more important features of this wondrous holiday.

I included what is here because these articles contain a connecting thread that I feel is significant in the celebration of the Christmas season. That thread is the awe and wonder and even the spiritual fulfillment that the human race has experienced over the years from the dawn of mankind up to and including our own time.

I chose to express my history in the form of conversations and letters. I’ve always felt a more personal approach to history allows it to be embraced, appreciated, and more easily understood by the majority of people. Call it my ‘style,’ if you will. Hopefully, it didn’t detract from your enjoyment.

Some may wonder why I did not include the nativity, or as it is called ~ the Christmas Story. Although it has produced an awe and wonder of its own, it has done so at the expense of the true history of the holidays. While I have nothing against the Christian expression of Christmas as the birth of the Christ child, you have to agree that much of the story has simply been tacked on to a season of joy that predated Christ’s birth by thousands of years.

Had the Christian church been willing to join in the age-old celebration and embrace the traditions of the past, I would have included it. But the honest truth is the church has tried to capture the wonder of the season and pass it off as its own. It has “Christianized” many of the traditions and stories that started elsewhere and claimed their expression of them as holy and righteous. Then it has turned around and vehemently attacked the original traditions claiming them heretical and labeling them as pagan evils in the eyes of God.

No one knows the date of Christ’s birth.  The Bible is mute on the issue, just as it doesn’t suggest anywhere that the birth of Jesus should be celebrated.  But since the story tells us that shepherds were tending their flocks outside at night it stands to reason that the birth month would have been in October or March.   During the bitter cold of December in Palestine, it is highly doubtful that Jewish shepherds would have been outside with their charges.

What I’ve tried to show above all else is that Christmas has been and always will be many things to many people. It is as complicated as the love it engenders. It’s a time for joy, peace and happiness. Yet, at the same time, it is a period of high stress and depression for many.   The truth is – the wonders of the season are most evident in homes where the holiday is celebrated as both a secular and spiritual festival.

The celebration of the season has always been somewhat commercial, more secular than sacred. Merchants from the beginning of time have profited from its merriment. Yet, without doubt, there has always been a touch of the sacred, whether by myth or miracle, that has always been included in the festivity.

Thank for stopping by and reading. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Your host,

Erick Emert

 

Short Bibliography:

The Origins of Christmas by Joseph F. Kelly

4,000 Years of Christmas: A Gift from the Ages by Earl W. Count, Alice Lawson Count, and Dan Wakefield

Where Did Christmas Come From? by Al Remson

Christmas in America by Penne L. Restad

There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of St. Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions by William J. Federer

Christmas: A Social History by Mark Connelly

The Trouble With Christmas by Tom Flynn

Christmas in America by Antonia Felix

History, Legends & Folklore of Christmas by Judy M. Rouse

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub

The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum

Also, many websites too numerous to mention were researched concerning the history of Christmas.

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