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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Dec.25 Celebrants:
Here's Hoping You had a
Blessed and Very Merry Christmas

According to the ancient church calendar which continues to be followed by most mainline churches up to this day, the Church Season of Christmas begins on the First Day of Christmas (Dec. 25th) and ends on the 12th Day of Christmas (and 12th Night which is January 5th.)

The religion's most significant holidays were Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus' birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus' resurrection. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honoring Jesus' birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D. (ref. Google)

The arrival of the Wise Men at the Manger is called The Epiphany (coming of The Light to the Gentiles--the word used for the masses of non-Jewish people). Epiphany always falls on January 6th. The Church Season of Epiphany continues through to Ash Wednesday which usually comes in February, but that's a different story.

Significant portions of Hispanic tradition and Eastern Christianity celebrate Christmas Day on January 6th (the arrival of the Wise Men in Bethlehem to give their gifts). According to Christian Scripture, God originally sent Jesus to be the Savior and King of the Jews. "The Jews," within 33 years of the gift of Jesus, rejected and crucified him, which led to the gift of Jesus to be offered to all humankind, Jews and Gentiles alike.

At first there was no celebration of Jesus' birth because it was anticipated that his "second coming" would be taking place very shortly after his ascension to Heaven. As the years went by, the church realized its need to set up a church calendar to help tell the story of Jesus and keep it circulating since early on there were no printed Scriptures. Movable type and the printing press were not yet in Europe--only valuable hand written copies which were protected by the church. Johannes Guttenberg is credited with inventing the printed page in Europe in approximately the year 1450.

Christmas became so big in the secular world because an early Bishop chose December 25th as Jesus' birthday. That date was already a well known date for a popular secular holiday--a celebration of the winter solstice. The duality of religious and secular celebration has endures throughout the centuries and is very present in our current 21st Century world.   Last Updated: 9:23 am 12/26/19.

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