Friday, December 05, 2003 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
WHAT'S HAPPENED TO CHRISTMAS?
Columnist Cal Thomas wrote a heart rending article entitled, “What Happened To Christmas?” He suffers because there are so few people left, in his opinion, who still believe in the “original cast” of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and the Wise Men. He is pained that this group has been replaced by reindeer, winter scenes, elves and "the God substitute – Santa Clause."
Does this man live on the same planet as you and I? Why is it that ever year we get some whiner complaining that Christmas just isn’t the way it was when THEY were a kid? Don’t they realize that their grandchildren will be saying the same things about Christmas when they grow to middle age? We remember Christmas as being special because it consumed us as children. We weren't looking at it from the same point of view as our parents. For a kid, Christmas is full of wonder, joy, music, laughing, and most important of all, fun.
But by the time we have our own children, the season becomes a hassle. All that running around shopping, going to church, visiting relatives, watching Christmas specials. Those annoyances were present for your parents and will be present for your kids when they grow up as well. Face it guy, Christmas has always been more commercial than secular - even before Christ. Why do you think the Puritans outlawed the holiday when they settled in New England?
And to call Jesus and the rest the “original cast” shows a complete lack of knowledge concerning the historical Christmas. If anything, it was Christianity which uprooted and replaced the original celebrating of what we call “Christmas” today. Any Bible scholar will tell you that no one knows when Christ was actually born. But most certainly it was not in December, as by Biblical accounts, sheep were still in the fields at night when Christ was born. This very statement probably pushes the clock back to sometime in October at the latest. By the middle of that month in Israel, cold wet weather sets in and flocks were kept inside, not outside, until the spring.
First century Christians were looking to Christ’s return ~ not at when he was born. It took 400 years for the idea that Christ had a birthday that could be celebrated to take root. There is no admonition in the Bible to celebrate his birth. So why all the fuss?
Because my “history” bone is aching, I’m going to announce here and now that during the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25th through January 5th), I’m going to write about all the different ways Christmas has been celebrated in the past. Some of it you will recognize and other parts you won’t. But you will see how Christmas has evolved over the years, incorporating traditions that existed thousands of years before Chirst into what we enjoy and lovingly refer to as "Christmas" today.
Christmas has a wondrous history that should never be forgotten. Join me at month's end, please.
©2003 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
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