I hope this finds everyone well and ready to enjoy the holiday week! While out enjoying some of the lights (this non-snowy year it looks more like Christmas after dark.) I was trying to remember the origins of some of the traditions like lights, etc.
But before we start, let's enjoy a brief, festive clip from a local house. It makes me either want to decorate more...or give it up.
Christmas Trees: Evergreens can survive the harshest of Winters, symbolizing everlasting life. Martin Luther is said to have brought the first one indoors.
Holly: The pointy leaves symbolize the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. The red berries represent His blood.
Mistletoe: The Druids believed it came down from Heaven and grew on a tree representing the marriage between Heaven and Earth. It symbolizes God's reconciliation with Mankind.
Candy Canes: The J shape represents Jesus or a shepherd's hook. The white symbolizes purity and the red His blood that purifies. Possibly invented by a Pastor to help keep kids quiet during services. They contain peppermint which is a close "relative" to hyssop, a Middle Eastern mint mentioned in the Bible.
Christmas Lights/Candles: Symbolize Jesus as being the "Light of the World."
Gingerbread: The Germans imported this Middle Eastern spice and began baking with it. But it really became popular after the publishing of "Grimms Fairy Tales" as they started to build houses with it. The first iced gingerbread cookies are from Britain and made their way "across the pond" to the US.
Eggnog: The preferred holiday drink of the British aristocracy as nobody else could afford it. With all the taxes on liquor, Americans changed the drink to contain rum as it was cheap.
Fruitcake: One version or another has been made pretty much since the beginning of time. Also a favorite of aristocrats due to it's expensive ingredients (fruit, nuts, spices and liquor) and the long, tedious process to make it.
Christmas Carols: Originally carols were Pagan songs celebrating the Winter Solstice. The word "carol" originally meant to dance to something. Christians took over and wrote songs that reflected their beliefs.
December 25th: Christmas was first celebrated on this date in 336 AD, during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine. Later, Pope Julius made this date official. This also correlates with the celebrating of the Winter Solstice (now the daylight will get longer--good reason to celebrate!) and other pagan festivals, so this date was chosen to draw attention away from them.
Well it's time for you to get back to your preparing and celebrating, but I have one last thing for you! Click on the link below. Enjoy!
Thompson Family Christmas Card