I don’t know for you, but this Christmas has been very educational for me. I learnt interesting facts like the fact that Father Christmas wears short sleeves in Australia; that Santa wears white and red because one day, he met Coca Cola; that the word Bible means “library”…
Another Christmas has come and will pass… Hardly thinkable when it’s been weeks that our senses are bombed with all kinds of pressure to consume. sometimes, we come a long way from the traditional family holiday and meaningful time it represents. In this season, I always seem to remember where I was at the same time last year… time to wrap up maybe?
I want to know more about our traditions. Where do all these things that we do at Christmas come from?
And first, what does Christmas mean? It is a composite word meaning “mass of Christ”. Although people generally assume we celebrate Jesus’s birthday on 25th of December (when they know what they are talking about!), it is more likely that this time was chosen so the Catholic Church could compete with rival pagan rituals held at that time of year.
Now, let’s take the Christmas cards. I hope you have already posted yours? hehe I’m late for mine, but it’s on the list, working to the top priorities 😉 So Christmas cards became popular in Britain, when the first stamp appeared (Black Penny), causing a revolution in the communication system. Later, it became even possible to send cards without envelope for half a penny.
What about Father Christmas, aka Santa? As children, we are taught that the big man with a long white beard and red clothes carries in a sack presents for nice and obedient children! Well, wait for the kids to be 6 or 7 and they won’t buy it anymore! But until then, they often proceed to write a very serious letter to this good man, asking (or ordering) whatever is on their wish list. In most countries, it is said that he lives near the North Pole, and arrives through the sky on a sledge pulled by reindeer. He comes into houses down the chimney on the 24th at midnight (in some countries it is on St Nicholas ‘s day -6th December) and places presents for the children in socks hanging by the fireplace or at the bottom of the family Christmas tree. But beware of naughty children who might find a whip instead!
Father Christmas myth was inspired by the true story of St Nicholas, who used to live in Turkey in the 4th century AD. by all accounts, the man was very generous and particularly devoted to children. He would give money to the destitute, usually without them knowing it. The legend tells that one day, he climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in the stocking which a girl had put to dry by the fire! An explanation to our Christmas stockings?
Oh, I was going to forget the inevitable, THE Christmas tree. Evergreen in our homes, the tree first appeared in 16th century Germany, where people adorned fir trees with apples, roses, candies and colored paper. A legend also reports that Martin Luther, coming back home, glimpsed the stars shining through the branches of a tree. He decided to put candles on a fir tree to recreate the effect. Later in history, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, brought the tradition of the tree from his native Germany to England. An illustration showing the royal family gathered around their adorned tree popularized the idea to the people.
And I could go on and on… Now if you want to tell me yours, I would love to sit by the fireplace, a hot cocoa in my hand, and I’d be all ears 🙂
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!
The danger is that we would get wrapped up in wrapping and that we would miss the gift.
I haven’t met one single person that was not broken. I am so glad I have Jesus as my crutch and I can lean on Him while He heals me.