A Taboo Celebration – Are You Kidding??

I give God the glory and celebrate a commemorative birth. Countdown to Christmas Blog!

A Taboo Celebration 2

 


ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL VERSION OF “OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL”, SUNG BY CELINE DION

 


The muddy slush piles up against the curb and trampled footprints scatter about as the sidewalks are covered in our first snow. Storefronts capitalize on impending Christmas shopping; windows are thoroughly decorated by professionals. Full of alluring ideas that tax the mind where wallets won’t permit, it’s hard to swallow at times. Comparing prices, we shop online, frustrated, then wait in lines. Is it really worth it? Paying for overnight delivery, we have ran out of time….

 

Though our hearts are consumed with love, we are obsessed with not wanting to forget a single person. So, checking our list, we seem to lose sight of what this holiday represents. It’s sad that the birth of Jesus may be categorized as a pagan (non-Christian) taboo holiday. We come together bearing gifts to commemorate what Christ stands for on the 25th day of December, even though there is no specific date given in the Bible for his birth. But there was a time when celebrating Jesus’ birthday was taboo. For hundreds of years, He went unnoticed and today I sit and wonder, is Christmas really blasphemous? Is decorating your church really sacrilegious?

 

In regards to paganism, Christmas isn’t religious. It is their belief that Jesus had never existed as a man, only as a sort of spiritual entity. (And by the way it was thought to celebrate any birthday was paganism as well. Let that soak in while you wrap yourself around the holiday season.)

 

Giving credit in the 1600s, Rome was the birthplace of Christmas as we know it; so, it’s a fairly new celebration! Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist for “The Battle for Christmas” (Vintage, 1997) stated, “If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?”

 

Protestants (the Puritans) hated this holiday and actually banned it in 1644. They believed it was an insult to God to honor a day associated with ancient paganism. Christmas trees and decorations were considered to be unholy rituals, and they also banned traditional Christmas foods such as mince meat pies and pudding. Puritan laws required that stores and businesses remained open all day on Christmas. The ban on the holiday was ultimately lifted in 1660, when Charles II took over the throne.

 

A Taboo Celebration

 

Churches may worship differently but they still hang wreathes on their doors and maybe mistletoe in the hallways. Due to a lack of timekeeping in biblical times, Christmas became a commemoration of the birth of Jesus. This is what Christians celebrate today. To call Christmas blasphemous or churches sacrilegious? Are you kidding?

 

Starting out on the virgin snow, the foliage dons a winter coat and a pristine aroma filters in the pains. Alone in my thinking, I give God the glory and celebrate a commemorative birth. It should be celebrated every day and not just in December!

 

I thank God for all of my friends and followers – each and every one of you. My heart is a Christmas card spreading good cheer! May your Yule tidings comfort you in the oncoming year. Feeling so blessed, God rest ye all this time of year. Merry Christmas!!!

The First Snow

….and Biblical Facts About Snow. Countdown to Christmas Blogs Sliding Along….

The First Snow 2

ENJOY THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC TOO!


It’s Christmas eve and the homes in our neighborhood are all decorated with lots of creative ideas. In the cold and dreary dark, almost on cue, a flurry falls. So together, standing with our arms around each other, a light on ready for bed, you and I watch as it begins to snow. Excited it’s our first snow, you look up at me, smile and say, “Let’s go for a walk”. Racing to get layered up, I helped you with your new suede boots with furry collars and little gold bells attached to the outside. With two pair of leggings and three different tops, I think it’s safe to say you’ll probably stay warm.

So I wrapped a scarf around my neck, stuck a knit-y on my head, grabbed my black goose down and headed out. Do you know how hard it is to hold someone’s hand with mittens on? Scuffing the snow as we walked through the neighborhood, I see we are not alone; we have company as others thought the same as us. It’s amazing how much better the decorations look covered in white. I love this time of year! We must have walked a mile, I guess, both our noses were blood red, frozen, as the snow was accumulating on our clothing.

I looked at my watch, it’s 12:03. MERRY CHRISTMAS, my love! What a wonderland worth falling in love in for in this season. Frozen to the bone, we rush inside, strip in the foyer and ran to shower in an attempt to thaw. The tree is loaded with, “I love you” gifts under it. I smell the effervescence of freshly cut pine. It’s as though we had just cut the forest.

A good night’s sleep, listening for Santa, we rose the next morning to a glimmering sunrise. It’s as though the Lord had sprinkled star dust all over the snow sometime in the middle night. With carols filling the airwaves in the living room, and the sound of shovels scraping the walks in the background, it is Christmas morning – a time to rejoice! “Wow honey,” I see you moved the angel from the top of tree. “No”, I said , “I thought you did. Well then please tell me how it got on the mantle…..??”  It’s the magic of Christmas!

The First Snow 4


Biblical Facts About Snow:

 

The word “snow” (Hebrew sheleg, Greek chion) appears 23 times in the Bible.

 

 “Driving snow” is an analogy for God’s judgment found in Ecclesiasticus 43:13:

By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall apace, and sends swiftly the lightnings of his judgment

 

In the bible, snow generates fruitfulness, wherever it falls.  As noted in Isaiah 55:10:

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.”

 

Snow was used in the bible as an analogy of purity and cleanness. Each time we see snow, we should be ever mindful to strive to live clean, pure and holy lives, just the same way that Christ was pure and sinless.  Psalms 51:7:

“Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”

 

The whiteness of leprosy is compared to snow in Exodus 4:6.

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

 

Snow is used to describe the color of Christ’s hair in Revelation 1:14:

 “The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.” 

 

In biblical times, snow that fell from the higher elevations, was stored deep in the mountains to be used in the summer months to cool off a drink. Proverbs 25:13:

“Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

One-Horse Open-Sleigh

Countdown to Christmas Continues….. Jingling All The Way!

One-Horse Open-Sleigh FB


ENJOY OUR MUSIC WHILE READING THE BLOG!  “JINGLE BELLS” SUNG BY PERRY COMO

 


“One-Horse Open-Sleigh”, later known as Jingle Bells, was written by Massachusetts resident, James Pierpont in 1850. As this story tells, Pierpont wrote it in Simpson’s Tavern, a boarding house with the only piano in town. An unproven detail is that he wrote his popular winter song for his father’s Sunday School class for Thanksgiving. It was so popular that it was sung again at Christmas time. One of Pierpont’s friends called the song, “a merry little jingle.”

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Among the earliest recorded versions of the song were on music boxes but it didn’t become popular until the phonograph record era. Among all the recordings, it was Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters who made the song the most popular. Their 1943 recording is the one most often heard today during the Christmas season in the United States.

Pierpont’s inspiration for this song was the annual one-horse open-sleigh races on Salem and Pleasant Streets between Medford Square and Malden Square. What were these races? In the 19th century, harness racing was extremely popular in towns. Straight, snow packed roads made for excellent racing lanes, and men would hitch their best horses for the races. Local newspapers from the 1800s and early 1900s included the latest sleigh racing reports, winner’s names and the breeding of the best horses. For many, sleigh racing was a cold-weather pastime, much like sledding and skiing. Large bells were attached to the horse’s necks to help avoid collisions at intersections (thus the inspiration for the title, Jingle Bells).

One Horse Open Sleigh 1

The sleigh described in “Jingle Bells” is known as a “cutter”—a two-person vehicle designed for a single horse in harness. A horse that could trot like the bobtailed mare referenced in the song could cover a mile in two minutes and 40 seconds. Fast one! It was not unusual for the tails of these horses to be bobbed to avoid entanglement in the tack.

As for sleigh racing, it dwindled in popularity each year after the introduction of the automobile.

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Horses are certainly one of the most fascinating creatures that God created! In the Bible, they were used as sources of transportation, symbols of army strength, royal gifts, pagan worship and symbols of wealth, character, and prophesies. To ride a horse in biblical times, usually implied war, which is why men usually rode donkeys, mules, camels and ox-driven carts. They were rarely used for agricultural purposes.

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

On a day-to-day basis, horses were imported and exported so chariot cities were built to stable them. Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient city of Megiddo, which was one of King Solomon’s chariot cities. Massive stone hitching posts still may be observed at the location.

1 Kings 10: 28-29
“Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt, and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each at a price. A chariot could be brought out of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150. And so to all the kings of the Hittites and of Syria they were exported by the king’s merchants.”

1 Kings 4:26
“Solomon also had 40,000 stalls for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen”.

But for all the notoriety that horses are famous for, God wants us to understand this about horses. He created them for their strength and power but not as a replacement for His power in your life. Just as horses tend to be stubborn and independent, so the Lord encourages you to lean on Him at all times, for His guidance. It can symbolize destruction or victory to you in His holy name!

Vivid Memories

A Loving Christmas Dedication….


It was 1980….. my whole family was around to celebrate the holiday. I’ll never forget Dad in his baggy corduroys, and mom in her Christmas plaid kilt. Home from college, my brother, Chip was out, somewhere, with friends. My dear Gram’s, in the way, was always trying to help. Archaic, you just had to love her! Born in 1901, I bet she had some stories to tell in her day. Dad, God rest his soul…. I’ll never forget the way he sharpened his carving knife. I watched intently year after year. Mom always stood by, in case he needed help holding the bird. My older brother, Jean, would arrive whenever he got there – with a packed truck of the traditional gifts of the season.

Vivid Memories 2

A picture frozen in time! It was to be Mom’s last Christmas. She was loaded with cancer and no one knew it. God, though, gave me the fortitude to capture her legacy in an everlasting Kodak moment (shown above). So I took it, not knowing if life would ever be the same again. It was February when we received the horribly, sad news. Mom started smoking at sixteen. Without a prayer of concern, her life was over at the early age of fifty-eight. She died in September. Soberly, during these holidays, I return to tears of yesteryears. The grave, love I had for her…. I was hell to raise! A determined, dyslexic little boy that needed more of Mom than my brothers could ever comprehend.

Watching the sun peak through the pain, I must give thanks to her. She did the best she could, I know. While flying at 30,000 feet in an airplane, sometime in the mid-seventies, I read about a couple of scientists in England that made a breakthrough on children with my disability. Poor Mom! God rest her soul for putting up with me! She probably still lies in a turmoil of frustration, after trying to raise me an “urchin”. Who knows?? I could have been ADHD, too.

I assure you though, if you think Mom had it rough, she never saw my life behind the curtain I was living. The “silent voice” (A Silent Voice), I came to comprehend. It was, what it was! There’s no changing that nightmare!

Today, during this holiday season, I reminisce. I give her a lot of credit for what she knew not. Born breach and blue, there was little she could do. But today, I thank God for my Mom, “Bless you Mom”! I wish you were here to share in the greatness of what your determined, dyslexic son has turned into. I guess, maybe, through God’s awesomeness, she knows, somehow, that my gift from God was because of her! She certainly died trying…..

Vivid Memories 1

The Shy, Red Nose

….and Video Of The Original Book Of This Beloved Classic Christmas Song! Countdown To Christmas!

The Shy Red Nose cover

 


This is a true story of a quiet, shy little boy of four children, whose Jewish parents lived in an upscale New York village. Born in 1905, Robert L. May was a loner who stayed to himself and considered himself a loser. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1926. In 1937, Bob moved to Chicago and took a pittance of a job – a copywriter – for the store chain, Montgomery Ward.

Every night, his terminally ill wife, Evelyn, would lie on the couch and listen to Bob as he told an ongoing story of a shy, red-nosed reindeer, to their four year old daughter, Barbara. He also included the eight other reindeer who accompanied Santa – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. He found these names based on the poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas”. Bob could certainly associate with Rudolph’s glowing red nose which made him a social outcast!

After his daughter’s bedtime, Bob would sit with his wife and write down what he had told his little girl. In July of ’39, Evelyn passed. The store manager insisted Bob take some time off to work on his picture book. Christmas came and the only gift he could afford to give Barbara was the storybook she dearly loved, as he had become inundated with his late wife’s medical debt.

He was invited to a business Christmas party at Montgomery Ward’s but he wasn’t interested in going. His cohorts insisted and they asked him to bring his book and read it to them. Astonished by his accomplishments, the employees cheered and applauded.

The manager of Montgomery Ward’s bought the rights for a promotional gig and sold 2.4 million story books the first year in publication in 1939. Bob, a mere writer, had struck gold!

Rudolph Ward's promotional reindeer


May persuaded Montgomery Ward’s corporate president, Sewell Avery, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947. It’s popularity could help him to pay for his medical debt. At the time, he lived in a two room apartment with his daughter and now he had fame as well as fortune.

In 1948 , Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks wrote the song, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, hoping Bing Cosby or Dina Shore would record it but they, and many others, turned it down. Finally, Gene Autry accepted the song. Within a few years, it was the second best-selling Christmas song ever!

In 1964, a television special about Rudolph produced by Rankin/Bass and narrated by Burl Ives, aired, and today it remains a popular perennial holiday favorite in the U.S. It is a classic children’s book of timeless proportions… a bedtime story of biblical proportions.

Barbara May was interviewed about her father by the Lakeland Ledger newspaper on December 26, 1981. A statement she made, describes her father’s fortitude yet complexity of his personality:

“He felt that Rudolph was something like him as a little boy, sort of scrawny and not quite accepted by the other kids on the block…. But he knew that a person had to keep going and that, somehow, perseverance and tolerance would win out.”

Truly a rags to riches story!

The Shy Red Nose

 


Enjoy this video of the original book of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”:

 

 

 

A Rivalry Of Christmas Harmony

Countdown to Christmas!

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Enjoy this beloved classic song, “Silent Night”, sung by Josh Groban


As Christmas approaches, I think it’s important to never forget the things we take for granted. Many stories of conjecture are written about Christmas during war time. Both World War I and II shared one common thread that is little known – a time when hell was non-existent for a brief period of time, and peace on Earth reigned.

 

World War I Rivalry
Pictures by Wikimedia Common

On an early, frosty Christmas Eve morning, in 1914, the English, French and Americans stood in frozen trenches of mud and blood. They quietly listened to the German soldiers singing, “Silent Night”. A more soothing sound was never heard than during the time of bombs and gunfire. A few hundred feet apart, the united forces read a sign scratched on a whitewashed board, “You no shoot, we no shoot you” and “Merry Christmas”. One by one, the opposing soldiers dug out of their trenches.

With weapons ceased, they all gathered together to sing Christmas carols – some in English, others in Latin, and some in German as well. Exchanging gifts and cigarettes, they prepared dinner to share their peace, in the name of Jesus, even though He was not recognized by some. The word spread and during the truce, some buried their comrades and also honored their fellow brothers who helped to bury young soldiers.

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This Christmas truce has been covered by the media for many years and the details of what actually happened on those frontlines, varies. However, one thing is for sure – it was singing about our savior that brought peace for twenty-four hours! The lesson to be learned here is the desire for peace in every single person and especially at this time of year. Perhaps God can shine a bright spot on the darkest of moments!

Please pray for our troops that serve in harm’s way during this Christmas season. A special “thank you” to our World War I and II fathers and grandfathers!  Peace and joy to all this holiday season!

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The Christmas song, “Silent Night”:

St. Nicholas Church in Austria was the first congregation to hear Silent Night played by guitar by Franz Gruber in 1818. In December 1832, the Strasser family performed it at a concert in Leipzig. It was first performed in the USA in 1839 by the Rainer family at the Alexander Hamilton Monument outside Trinity Church in New York City. During this time the tune changed to the one we know and sing today!

It was translated into English in 1863 by John Freeman Young.

Here are the original lyrics written for this song:

Silent night, holy night,
Bethlehem sleeps, yet what light,
Floats around the heavenly pair;
Songs of angels fills the air.
Strains of heavenly peace.

 

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Birth Of The Christmas Greeting Card

….and More Fun Facts About Christmas Cards


Enjoy “An Old Christmas Card” song by Jim Reeves, 1963:

 

 


 

First christmas card 1
First Christmas card ever created – by Jon Horsley

 

Birth of Christmas Card 2


 

In the mid 1800’s, in the UK, Sir Henry Cole had the bright idea to share cards amongst his friends. John Horsley, his good friend and an artist, designed the very first Christmas greeting card for him. About one thousand cards were designed and sent out. As the idea caught on, the problem was not the cards, it was how to get them to the friends you wished, “A Good Tidings” to.

Though delivering a package was costly and the poor could never afford such an expense, Sir Henry decided to create a “Penny Post” for folks to drop off their cards to; thus, the creation of the post office. So, for about a Penny stamp, their mail was sent. As this tradition spread in 1860, Christmas cards were mass produced and the postage dropped to a half-penny.

The original cards were colorful with pictures of children caroling or Nativity scenes. Some cards were decorated with snow scenes and red robin birds. Mail carriers at this time, were called “Robin Postmen” in tribute to the birds.

The tradition caught on in America, in 1849, by Louis Prang. He was a German immigrant that grew up in the printing business and started the Christmas card fad here. About 1915, John C. Hall started to mass produce the greeting cards in our country. And so began the infamous company we’ve learned to count on for the holiday season….the original creator of Hallmark cards!

I find it very interesting that the Christmas card industry gave birth to the post office. Who would of thought, much less in the UK? I hope today, as we all pray for peace and joy, may God fill your heart with tidings as and it won’t cost a cent to share those feelings with others!

 


More Fun Facts About Christmas Cards

 

  • The first known ‘personalized’ Christmas Card was sent in 1891 by the famous sharpshooter, Annie Oakley.

Birth of Christmas Card 4

  • Homemade cards became popular in the 1910’s. They were only delivered by hand because of their delicate condition.
  • The very first Christmas card (shown above) created by Jon Horsley was not liked by many because it showed a child being given a glass of wine.
  • In the nineteenth century, the British Post Office used to deliver cards on Christmas morning.
  • In the 1940s, many nonprofits were raising money by selling special sets of Christmas cards that carried their institution’s logo or an image inspired by its mission. UNICEF was the largest distributor of these cards.

Birth of Christmas Card

 

An engraved card by the artist William Egley, who illustrated some of Charles Dickens’s books, is on display in the British Museum.

 

 

Birth of Christmas Card 3

 

First Victorian Christmas card, made in the USA