Life

Special Edition: Christmas

Welcome to a Special Edition Post – Christmas.

 

My beliefs and traditions, as well as the basic info of what I know about Christmas, is centered on the Christianity aspect. Being raised in a church and later becoming a preacher’s daughter, that’s the only Christmas I know. { Bear in mind, there are different variations of this story. I would never belittle someone else’s beliefs. This is just what I was taught. Just thought I would throw that out there. }

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Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The story begins with Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus. An angel from the Lord appeared to Mary, informing her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry this child, give birth to this child, and his name will be Jesus. Mary was a virgin, so it was hard to believe. But who can deny a message from God. When Mary confessed that she was with child to her fiancé, Joseph, he immediately felt betrayed. But being the good man he was, instead of breaking the engagement, he decided to act quickly and quietly. Soon an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, sharing with him the same revelation.

Fast forward to the time of delivery. Mary rode on a donkey, lead by Joseph into the town of Bethlehem. When they arrived at the Inn, they were told there was no room for them. They were forced to find shelter in the stable. This is where Jesus was born, placed in a manger (Research the song Away in a Manger if you don’t know it. :) )

Meanwhile, an angel appeared to the Shepherds who were tending their flock of sheep. After being told about the Savior’s birth, they made their way to the stable. Also among visitors to see the Christ-Child were the three wise men. They followed the Star to find Jesus. Once they arrived, they bowed and worshiped him, offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 For the complete story:
Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20

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Now for some other tidbit information. Typical traditions revolving around Christmas include trimming the Christmas Tree, hanging mistletoe and garland, decorating the house in twinkling lights and the yard with inflatables, hanging stockings over the fireplace, writing letters to Santa Claus, exchanging heartfelt gifts with loved ones, and (my personal fave) making & baking Christmas goodies. You can see some pictures below that show some of these Christmas traditions.

Tree 1      Rockefeller Center Tree

                                                                                                       The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Yard Decor 1 Grinch  <—–  The Grinch!

According to the incredible & informative website – about.com – I was able to learn that Washington Irving was the man responsible for creating such a legend from St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus). This was through his writing A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. (Also interesting to note, this is the man also responsible for the well-known characters Rip Van Winkle & Ichabod Crane. And as if that wasn’t enough credit, Irving was also the first American to make a living as an author. Very interesting, I think! Fascinating really!) In this story, he tells of a man who brings gifts down chimneys, all while riding in his sleigh. Hence, the story of Santa Claus, who rides in his sleigh – pulled by reindeer – to deliver gifts to those that believe on the night of Christmas Eve.

From what I have read, Santa Claus has two known homes in the United States. One is in Torrington, Connecticut and the other is in Wilmington, New York. I had no clue about this, by the way. Is it bad that I want to visit these towns and meet Santa Claus??? Have any of you heard of this? Please share!

SantaSanta & His Reindeer

 

And just for added enlightenment, here are some celebrations and traditions throughout the U.S.

  • Pennsylvania – the Moravians build a landscape under the Christmas tree, called a putz, and the Germans are given gifts by Belsnickle, who teaches misbehaving children a lesson with a switch.
  • Alaska – A star on a pole is taken from door to door, as carols are sung.
  • Washington D.C. – An impressive tree donned with Christmas ornaments is lit ceremoniously by the press of a button by the President.
  • New Orleans – An ox is paraded around the streets decorated with holly and ribbons.
  • Hawaii – Santa arrives by boat.
  • California – Santa arrives catching waves on a surf board.
  • Colorado – An enormous star is placed on a mountain, visible from many kilometers away.
  • New Mexico – People place lighted candles in sand-filled paper bags on streets and rooftops to light the way for the Christ Child.

 

As for my personal Christmas traditions……well, they’ve changed from when I was a young. When my sister and I lived at home (yes, up until we were almost ‘adults’) my dad would read us Twas the Night Before Christmas before we went to bed Christmas Eve night. That was one of my favorite parts. Before that, we had dinner at my grandmothers and exchanged gifts with that part of the family. Christmas morning always started early at home. We were eager to get the festivities started (usually by 5am, sometimes 4!). Every Christmas morning, we woke up to find that Santa had visited us and left wrapped and unwrapped gifts under and even in the tree. For a later breakfast (now its lunchtime), we headed to my other grandparents house and celebrated with them. That was pretty much the gist of it.

Now that I’m married, we have a busier schedule that we’re still working on. This will be our fourth Christmas together and every year has been different. We’re trying to find something to fit everyone’s schedule, which is just not easy to do. We have my husband’s mom and then the rest of his family. And for me, we have my mom, her family and my dad and his family. Plus we have to fit some time in there for our small family. (That would be hubs, me, and our four-legged baby.)  We have seven different Christmases. And we don’t even have grandbabies yet. (To clarify, what would be grandbabies to our parents.) So needless to say, Christmas time is crazy! But I love every (sometimes stressful) moment of it. It is the most joyous, most spirited, happiest time of the year.  :-)

 

I sincerely hope you enjoyed my special post today. I have to admit, I enjoyed doing some research. I would love to hear about your family’s traditions in celebrating this time of year. I insist you share! I wouldn’t mind adding to our celebrations.

 

Until next time………………love, blessings, and Christmas Cheers!

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