Scenes from Pine Mountain Club (where we live)
we going to have a White Christmas?
December 2015 Newsletter
The Origins of Christmas
You may or may not be surprised to find that many of the routines and the décor of Christmas go back to traditions that were laid in long before the birth of Christ. Three hundred years after Christ’s resurrection the Roman emperor Constantine saw a vision of a cross superimposed upon a sun and he got his priorities right to favor Christianity, which is a religion of love. He introduced the Edict of Toleration of 313 AD and this is what actually changed the world, opening the way for Christianity to go mainstream.
It was Constantine who endorsed the first celebration of the birth of Christ and selected the date of 25th December, not the true birth date of Jesus, which was in September. In this way he married the spirituality of the “new” religion with the age old traditions of renewal at the turn of the year; traditions and rituals that were dear and precious to the majority of his people. This is why we now have the story of the miraculous birth of Christ and what that means to the world, but we also have sparkling Christmas Trees and good food and good cheer. In the play, “Fiddler on the Roof” Tevye, the lead character says that if we abandon the security of our customs, we will be shaken and unstable like a Fiddler on the Roof. It seems that Constantine understood this.
Families are created, they don’t just happen and Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when we get together to create the rituals that bind our families together. Choose your family rituals with care, make them special and repeat them often, for they will become the foundation for the next generation.
This Jewish celebration begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 20th and ends at sunset December 28th. It is the story of when the Jews evicted the Syrians-Greeks from Israel, and restored the temple. Apparently when the priests were ready to relight the temple menorah they could find only one jug of oil, enough for only one day. Miraculously the oil burned for seven full days by which time they had processed the necessary pure oil which took seven days to make.
This is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar which lasts 29 or 30 days and this is when participating Muslims refrain from eating. There is much celebrating when they finally break the fast, as you can imagine, fasting is embraced as a cleansing nutritional action in many early religions and has been adopted in America by the Wellness Movement. I can attest to its power as I fast at least two days each month.
This tradition from Africa goes from Christmas for seven days through to the New Year. Could we not embrace some of these very powerful and beautiful ideas?
America has come a long way in embracing Diversity, it didn’t just happen. Even in times fo threat and violence, this is something to remember.
Quote for the Month
"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love."
~ Hamilton Wright Mable ~
Until next month!
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