Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes

By Bruce David Forbes

Written for everybody who loves and is concurrently pushed loopy via the vacation season, Christmas: A Candid historical past provides an enlightening, pleasing viewpoint on how the yearly yule get together received to be what it's this present day. In a desirable, concise journey via historical past, the publication tells the tale of Christmas—from its pre-Christian roots, during the beginning of Jesus, to the holiday's unfold throughout Europe into the Americas and past, and to its mind-boggling transformation via sleek consumerism. filled with fascinating tales, according to study into myriad assets, choked with insights, the ebook explores the ancient origins of traditions together with Santa, the reindeer, present giving, the Christmas tree, Christmas songs and films, and extra. The booklet additionally deals a few provocative principles for reclaiming the enjoyment and which means of this loved, but frequently problematical, season amid the pressures of our fast moving customer tradition.

DID YOU KNOW

For 3 centuries Christians didn't have fun Christmas?

Puritans in England and New England made Christmas observances unlawful?

St. Nicholas is an elf in the recognized poem "The evening earlier than Christmas"?

President Franklin Roosevelt replaced the dateof Thanksgiving so as to prolong the Christmas purchasing season?

Coca-Cola helped model Santa Claus's glance in an advertisements crusade?

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Sample text

Why is that? The answer has to do with differences in calendars, and I must confess that every time I try to sort out the intricacies of these calendars, I get dizzy. It is confusing. The variation has to do with a transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars. The Julian calendar was introduced in  BC (or BCE), under Julius Caesar in the Roman Empire (hence the calendar’s name), and it took force in . It is similar to the basic calendar we know today, with  days, twelve months, and a leap day added every four years.

And in its newly public role, Christianity was now in a position to contend openly with its rivals, which included Roman deities and, more important for our story, Roman midwinter parties. Lo and behold, Christmas arose precisely in the new era inaugurated by Constantine. The dating of the Philocalian Calendar suggests that Christmas developed either in Constantine’s lifetime or shortly after his death. We have no document in which Constantine or a bishop of Rome tells us exactly why the birthday celebration of Jesus got started on December , but it obviously had something to do with the winter festivities already in place.

Others have ∂                   compared this view to the parables told by Jesus. When Jesus told the story of a Samaritan who helped a wounded traveler after supposedly religious people had passed him by, it did not really matter whether the incident actually happened. What was important, what was “true,” was the meaning of the story. ”15 The nativity stories were narratives intended to communicate who Jesus was, and how important he was, Miller argues. The late Raymond Brown, a Roman Catholic priest recognized by both Protestants and Catholics as a preeminent New Testament scholar, wrote a long, very detailed commentary on the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke called The Birth of the Messiah.

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