Christmas is Coming ~ and I feel like a little child

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My bins are Christmas green.

Thanksgiving Day is gone, though thanksgiving continues as a way of life for me. So, now I’m thankful that Christmas is coming. For me the day after Thanksgiving is the “official start of the Christmas season” which doesn’t end on December 26th. No, I also celebrate the 12-Days of Christmas and end the season on December 6th with Epiphany.

In my house, the day after Thanksgiving is the day for taking out my large plastic “Christmas bins.”

This year I did some research and I found out surveys show that people who celebrate Christmas early tend to be happy people. All I know on a personal level is that I feel great when I jump into the Christmas season with both feet.

Isaiah 9:6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]

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My baker’s rack in happy disarray as I put away “year round” object ‘d art and start putting up the Christmas stuff.

My feeling is that “Christmasy people” enjoy the “Light” the season brings. Even the non religious feel the light piercing the darkness and they like it. I don’t decry the  overabundance of lights on houses as commercialism. Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph don’t upset me. I know Santa Claus isn’t the baby Jesus. I also know the real St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who gave gifts to the poor. I don’t mistake my Santa figurines as “the reason for the season.” Not for one second. But Santa does make me smile. Still, I know if there had never been a Jesus, there would not have been a Santa Claus.

I love to see smiles breaking out on the faces of children when they sit on Santa’s lap. Too often our children are fretful, feeling the anxiety and weight of the world in this angry time. Laughing when they see Frosty or Rudolph is a welcome break. It’s the Light breaking through the darkness. It’s children being allowed to be children, even for a short time. It’s the joy of the season breaking out. It can’t be contained. Darkness can’t hold it back.

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Turkey chili sustains me as I decorate.

I’m a firm believer that you can’t decorate on an empty stomach.

It is up to the church to tell the story of the baby Jesus. If we tell the age-old glorious story, they will listen. We must tell them.

The Birth of Jesus ~ ~ Luke 2 ~ New Living Translation [NLT]

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

Did Gotham Invent the Modern Celebration of Christmas? …Or Christmas New York Style

Xmas Sinterklaus

 

Well, when the Dutch settled in what is now the greater New York metropolitan area waaay back in the early 1600s and called the town New Amsterdam, they brought the idea of St. Nicholas with them. They called him Sinterklaus. He was a saintly old gent who left bits of candy and small toys in the children’s wooden shoes or stockings on November 6th, St. Nicholas Day. They also imported the notion that Christmas was to be a child centered holiday.

Many of the Hessian soldiers who were surprised when George Washington’s motley crew crossed the Delaware River in a dense fog on Christmas Eve  in 1777 decided to stay in America after the war. They brought the colonies the decorated Christmas tree. By the 1800s Christmas trees were growing in popularity in the Tri-State area and beyond. By the mid-1800s there are stories of Christmas trees in Massachusetts and Ohio. By 1855, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans reported a decorated tree in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and explained that it was a German custom that was catching on. But it all started in New York.

Alexander Turney. Stewart, a merchant who was about as New York as you can get and who had the largest dry goods store in the world on Broadway and Chambers street, began decorating his stores at Christmas and pushing the idea of giving gifts to the entire family. In the 1800s and early 1900s Christmas gift giving was a much simpler affair than it is today. Typical gifts for the ladies were: a dressy pair of gloves, a hair ribbon, a comb and/or brush, a length of fabric or lace. Men also received gloves, as well as scarves, perhaps a tool for his tool box. Children received small toys, bits of candy, gloves, scarves, hats, alphabet inscribed wooden blocks, and the like.

Xmas Outdoor Tree 2

 

 

1907 saw the first public Christmas tree celebration in Madison Square. It was a 7o foot high pine hauled in from the Adirondaks and lit up by the Edison Company. That New York tradition quickly caught on with villages and towns across America erecting a tree in their town square. Today New York lights a magnificent tree every year in Rockerfeller Center.

 

When the country was on the brink of the second world war, New Yorker Iving Berlin wrote what stands as the most popular Christmas tune of all time, “White Christmas. The second most popular song of all time was written in In 1949…you got it, one of the writers was from Gotham. Robert May and his brother-in-law, composer Johnny Marks, imortalied a red-nosed reindeer in their song rejected by his reindeer-friends, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

In 1947, Miracle on 34th Strreet starring Maureen O’Hara and John Payne was about a store Santa at Macy’s who might just be the real Santa. Elf, the movie was filmed largely in NYC in 2003. Home Alone II, staring the young Mcaulay Culkin was filmed in Gotham in 1992. These and many other Christmas movies with a New York theme have been enjoyed by folks across the country and the world.

I would never want to imply all across the fruited plain they’re stealing Christmas ideas and traditions from Gotham…no never! Just sayin…