About the Christmas Season

By | Dec 11, 2007

1) Many people are away from home or alone on Christmas. Many people will journey home during the holidays, but there are those who won’t be able to with family during the holidays. Some may not be able to afford the expenses to travel. There are others who can’t take the time off from work or have jobs that require them to work on the holidays. People who work in the hospitals and those on active duty in the military would be examples. To those whose love ones can’t be with them or those who can’t be with their love ones, it can be depressing.

2) There are many common elements in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three believe in a Divine Being, the source of all that exists. All three religions believe that this God is the origin, cares about the entire creation and desires the well-being of all. God is just and merciful. They believe they are the children of Abraham and that Moses, David and Jesus are prophets. Islam believe in the virgin birth of Mary and accepts Jesus as a prophet and teacher but as Judaism do not believe in him as the savior.

3) Many of the Christmas traditions come from pagan practices. The date of Christmas was the date that Roman pagans celebrated the Birthday of the Invincible Sun God. It’s possible that December 25 was selected as the date of Christ’s birth in the early days of Christianity as way for all to participate. Yule is one of the pagan holidays and the idea of the Yule log came from that. Decorating a tree has its origins with the Druids who saw evergreen as symbols of everlasting life and decorating the trees may have also come from the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, a celebration of the Winter Solstice.

5) The vision of Santa Claus we know him today was created by Clement Moore and Thomas Nash. The legend of St. Nicholas can be traced back to 280 A.D. and a Turkish monk. By the time of the Renaissance St. Nicholas was one of the most popular saints in Europe and even when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged he maintain a positive reputation, especially in Holland. In 1822 Clement Moore wrote the classic christmas poem “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”. In the poem he classified St Nicholas as a ‘jolly old elf’ with the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney and riding a sled led by 8 reindeer. In 1881 Thomas Nash drew upon the poem and created the first likeness that matches our vision of Santa Claus as a cheery man with full, white beard and a sack of toys. Nash gave Santa his bright red suit and a North Pole workshop with elves and Mrs. Claus.

4) Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was originally an advertising campaign. In 1939 Montgomery Ward, a chain of department stores, asked one of their copywriters, Robert L. May, to create a christmas story to give to shoppers as a coloring book. Prior to that they had been purchasing the books and thought by creating their own they could save money. May had a knack for writing children’s stories and created Rudolph as an ostracized member of the reindeer community because of an abnormality, his red nose. The Montgomery Ward stores distributed 2.4 millions copies of the story in 1939 and by 1946 6 million copies had been given away.

6) White Christmas by Bing Crosby is the biggest selling song of all-time with over 100 million copies sold. The Song was written by irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant who also wrote God Bless America. It was first sung by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn and release each Christmas for many years. In 1942 it was number 1 on the music charts and reached number 1 again in 1944 and 1945, becoming the only recording to reach number one in three different years. Holiday Inn was remade in 1954 as White Christmas. White Christmas is the most recorded Christmas song with over 500 versions by over 150 different artists.

Originally posted in 2006


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