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Christmas Traditions-How We Got Them


cffblog6.jpgDecember 20, 2017 (Wednesday)

Some of the traditions of Christmas and how we got them:

xmastreeX.jpgTHE CHRISTMAS TREE

Have you ever wondered how the custom of bringing a tree into the house at Christmas got started? The use of trees in worship originated with paganism, which had many gods. The decoration of trees with lights and ornaments for Christmas got its start in Europe, probably in the 1500's, and the custom was brought to America by Germans in Pennsylvania in the 1830's. It was not until the late 1800's that the practice became an American custom.

SANTA CLAUS

What about Santa Claus? How did he get his start? In the 300's, a man by the name of Nicholas became known for his love for children and his generosity. He was later elevated to Sainthood by the Catholic Church. The Dutch spelled Saint Nicholas as Sint Nikolaas, which became corrupted to Sinterklaas, and finally, in Anglican, to Santa Claus. In 1822, the poem, "The Night Before Christmas" created the jolly bearded man in the red suit.

THE NAME, "CHRISTMAS"

Why do we call it "Christmas?" December 25 was chosen by the Catholic Church to take the place of a pagan winter festival, and they called that celebration, "Christ's mass."

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It was decreed as the birthday of Jesus, although he was probably born in the spring. Settlers in Massachusetts banned the observance of Christmas in colonial days, considering it a pagan ritual. ("Xmas" is simply an abbreviation, using a Greek letter, "Chi," which looks like an "X." (Seminary students use it a lot when they take lecture notes).

CHRISTMAS CARDS
Christmas cards originated in Great Britain, around 1840. The availability of a postal system encouraged the development of this idea.

THE ADVENT WREATH

German Lutherans originated Advent wreaths in the 1800's. Round to symbolize eternity, and made of evergreens to picture God's "everlasting" love. Candles added to the wreath extend the symbolism to more specific truths about God.

GIFTINBOX.jpgGIFTS
The tradition of exchanging gifts arose from the Bible's account of the Magi (Wise Men) who brought gifts to Jesus, the infant king. The tradition of gifts has become the central and overriding practice associated with Christmas.


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THE NATIVITY DISPLAY
A great tradition associated with Christmas is the Nativity Scene. The standard components: The baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Innkeeper and his wife, the shepherds, the Magi, the angels, and sometimes a donkey and a few goats and/or sheep. This scene may be on a residential lawn, or on the church's lawn, in a special room in the house, or on a special table, using miniature characters. We Christians believe this is the best symbol of Christmas, because it gets to the heart of the meaning of Christmas.



THIS IS AN EDITED REPUBLICATION OF MY BLOG OF DECEMBER 18, 2007


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