(Archive - Week of December 25, 2004)
Let us celebrate the birthday of Jesus
I hope old Santa will not forget you. I know what Christmas means to young children, but what does it mean to you? This holiday is celebrated by Christians as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. The Christian church festival extends from December 24 (Christmas Eve) through January 6 (Epiphany.) In this sense, it is also called “Christmastide.”
“Congress has requested me to recommend to the people a day of public thanksgiving and prayer with grateful hearts for the many and signal favors of Almighty God affording them an opportunity to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness” – President George Washington, 1789.
I can think of no better time (Christmas) to reflect on the present day Christianity and the separation of religion and state as provided by our founding fathers.
Christians explored and settled the North American continent for Christians. The United States came into being as a Christian nation for Christians. The founding fathers and patriots of the revolution were Christians, in addition to a few of the Jewish faith.
The new nation, leaders and government subscribed to Judeo-Christian principles. Patriot, founding father and second President, John Adams, stated in 1776, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
In our 228 years of existence, our country has opened its doors to every religious faith, as it should have done. However, we cannot deny the fact from people that those who believed the Bible and the Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian faiths were the Word of God were the people who founded and settled this nation.
Christianity is now under attack as never before. I think some Christians are not only too involved in politics … they even degrade our founding fathers as wealthy, greedy slave owners, womanizers and sexual deviants to justify the sins of our government and some leaders of today.
The truth is; they ignore the God-inspired Declaration of Independence and Constitution manipulating the intentions of the authors to serve their own agenda. John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; it is inadequate to the government of any other.”
On May 14, 1787 , the “Father of Our Country,” George Washington, serving as the president of the Constitutional Convention, stated, “If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hands of God.”
A warning to those who passionately love God and country: Be not fooled by godless Republican conservatives; Christians founded this nation, and our forefathers designed it to serve the people based on the teaching of Jesus Christ.
We, the people, cannot ignore the sins of the greedy power-brokers who have gone before us who were responsible for black slavery, “The Trail of Tears,” “ Wounded Knee ” and a score of other sins that are shamefully a part of our heritage.
However, we should not, we can not, discard our heritage, our traditions that were good and righteous in the name of progress and new-age ideology. If we place man above God, justifying pleasure above responsibility, like all nations that no longer exist, we, too, will vanish as the republic that gave birth to freedom and liberty on this earth.
I think some so-called Christians believe the message of Jesus Christ stands in the way of those who are leading our country in the wrong direction. Perhaps we should offer up prayers to God who inspired our founding forefathers to create our nation. God bless our constitutional republic, and God bless America .
MY WORDS OF WISDOM:
In my lifetime generations have been granted the honor of defending freedom while our nation was in danger. Patriotic Americans did not shrink from this responsibility … most welcomed it. The present generation of American military men and women are dying in George W. Bush Iraq War, and in 52 other different countries defending freedom in all free nations of the world while we celebrate the Christmas holiday season here at home. My God bless them and their families here in the states.
Pictures of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin? There are no descriptions of Jesus' appearance in the New Testament. Nor are there any reputable descriptions in any known early Church sources. St. Augustine of Hippo made a point of this when he wrote his monumental works in the fifth century. Yet, starting in the sixth century a new picture, a new common appearance for Jesus emerged in eastern art. We see it today in all manner of pictures of Jesus: icons, paintings, mosaics and Byzantine coins. This common picture quality seems to have started in the Middle East about the same time that the Image of Edessa was discovered. Prior to this time, pictures of Jesus were mostly of a young, beardless man, often with short hair, often in story-like settings in which he was depicted shepherd.
History of Santa Claus In 1821, the first Santa Claus pictures were illustrated along with a poem titled “The Children's Friend, A New-Year's Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve” gave us one of the earliest images of Santa when it was published along with eight color lithographs. One of the lithograph illustrated him dressed in a red suit that was not anything like a suit of clothing an American might be wearing, nor like a flowing robe as Saint Nicholas might wear.
In 1837 Robert Weir an art teacher at West Point painted the first American portrait. He posed him wearing a stocking hat and short suit as he started to climb into a chimney with a sack overflowing with Christmas gifts as described in Moore‘s poem. Along with the stocking hat and short suit Weir added a long clay pipe and a red cape edged in fur to his character. To view our Unusual Christmas Gift Ideas select this link.
The elves appeared as early as 1856 in an unpublished book titled “Christmas Elves.” He relied on helpful elves who worked long hours in their polar workshop to make Christmas toys for all the children. Godey's Magazine also incorporated elves in their engravings described below. The elves would surround Santa Claus while he was working in his workshop.
In 1863, a picture drawn by Thomas Nast gave Americans a Santa Claus that looked and behaved like a real person. For twenty-three years, his annual drawings of him in Harpers Weekly magazine allowed Americans to peek into his magical world. The pictures showed him reading letters from children, making lists, and toys year around in the workshop. When Nast was asked to illustrate Moore's charming verse for a book of children's poems, he gave us a softer, kinder person who was still old but appeared less stern than the St. Nicholas. He dressed him in a red and white suit and hat. The elf's were dressed in red endowed with human characteristics. Most important of all, Nast gave Santa a home at the North Pole.
The December 1867 issue of Godey's magazines opened with an engraving of a bearded old character wearing a long tunic suit. He carried a staff in one hand and in the other hand held out a doll toward a crowd of children. The 1868 the December issue had instructions on how to make a pine cone Santa in the craft section. He had a full bag of toys, apples and nuts. He was carrying a Christmas tree, a birch staff and a wooden nutcracker. In 1873 Godey showed him working in his workshop surrounded by elves and Christmas toys for children. The Christmas issue in 1878 opened with an engraving titled “Welcome, Kriss Kringle. Come In” showed him in a flowing robe, with a long white beard and hair, wearing a tall peaked hat.
Markus Rautio announced on his popular children's show in 1927 that Santa and his elf assistants lived in Lapland's korvatunturi where the landscape resembles a huge ear. This is where Santa listens to find out if the children are being naughty or nice. A warning to all boys and girls that Santa is listening and making a list of stops before he hitches the reindeer to the sleigh filled with toys for his sleigh ride on Christmas eve.
The final touch as we know Santa today came in the 1931 drawing by Haddon Sundblom. His billboards and other advertisements for Coca Cola-Cola featured a portly, grandfatherly man with human proportions and a ruddy complexion. Sunblom's exuberant, twinkle-eyed fellow firmly fixed the gift-giver's image into the publics mind. The pictures portrayed a life size figure with the spirit of an elf resembling Clement Moore's physical description. He wore a red suit that was trimmed with white fur and wearing black boots with this Santa Claus hat.
History of the Christmas Tree
The tradition of having an evergreen Christmas tree, which has become a symbol of Christmas, goes back in past recorded written history. The Druids in ancient England & Gual and the Romans in Europe both used evergreen branches to decorate their homes and public buildings to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Over the years, these traditions were adopted by Christians, who incorporated them as part of their Christmas holiday celebration.
Christmas Trees used specifically to celebrate Christmas are mentioned in the early 1600's in Germany and surrounding countries. The families would set up these christmas trees in a prominent location of their home and decorate them with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles. As these people moved or immigrated to other countries, they brought this tradition of christmas tree decoration with them.
Through the years many different things were used to decorate Christmas trees. As the world moved into the 1900's, many christmas trees were decorated with strings of popcorn, homemade cards and pictures, cotton to look like snow, candy in all shapes and sizes, and occasionally, fancy store made glass balls and hand blown glass figurines. Candles were sometimes used, but often caused devastating fires, and many different types of candle holders were devised to try to prevent tree fires. Electric tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison has his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. The early Christmas tree ornaments and lights were handmade and quite expensive.
Today, Christmas tree ornaments can be found in nearly every size, color, and shape imaginable, and they are used to decorate the millions of Christmas trees used throughout the world.
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