There is not a Christmas lover anywhere who does not know well the text of the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2, from the New Testament. But never have you heard it with such precise storytelling ability as we see in this video of John Rhys-Davies with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: For as great as that telling is on stage, listen to Rhys-Davies explain why this story is so important: Do you think he knows and understands the meaning of Christmas?
High in the snowy back country of Germany children everywhere look forward to the early December feast day of St. Nicholas, that kindly gift bringer of ancient origin. But unlike other children German kids have not only to be on the lookout for St. Nick – but also for his alleged dark opposite known as Krampus. St. Nicholas is for the nice kids – Krampus is for those who are challenged with the concept of being nice. Krampus’ image is anything but merry — or like anything else associated with Christmas. He is a beast that looks like half aRead more
Today is July 15th and there are only 163 days left until Christmas. Today marks the 236th birthday of Clement Clarke Moore, author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” or, as it is better known, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Moore doesn’t get the love that Charles Dickens receives but his Christmas creation is likely more widely read and quoted every Christmas than even A Christmas Carol. It’s too bad because Moore is worthy of celebrating and the story of the creation of A Visit from St. Nicholas is a great Christmas story in and of itself. It is notRead more
The legend of Santa Claus, the image of Father Christmas, and the basis for most legendary Christmas gift bringers of old world Europe all has their genesis in the real-world figure of Saint Nicholas. His story as a benevolent religious figure and giver of gifts has led to a centuries old reputation that has influenced seasonal charity for generations. He was born of a wealthy family in the village of Patara, located now in modern-day Turkey. Legend recalls young Nicholas growing up in a privileged situation, his parents being quite wealthy Christians. But their lives were taken as an epidemicRead more
Pick a history resource out there and you will find a history of Christmas trees that dates back to pagan traditions of the Winter Solstice. The History Channel says Christmas trees took root from ancient use of evergreens as an end-of-year ritual of hope and eternal life. Wikipedia, to its credit, admits that is purely a “speculative theory”. But even Christian history resources cite pagan roots for the modern Christmas tree. Like most history of Christmas all that is too lazy and too easy. Christmas trees are actually a complex form of celebration. And they are much, much older thanRead more
In a 1980 production of a low budget and not-so widely distributed film directed by Academy Award winning director Keith Merrill, Jimmy Stewart gives the holiday performance of a lifetime. Unlike that other Christmas movie (It’s a Wonderful Life) starring Stewart nearly forty years before this one features neither the predictable sub-plots of good versus evil or the triumph over Christmas disasters. Stewart plays Willie Krueger, a lonely old man enduring a Christmas alone in his basement apartment with his cat George. We never learn why he is alone and why there is no family about him, save only thatRead more
Santa Claus, much like Christmas itself, is a symbol of all things sacred and secular related to Christmas. From classic Coca Cola ads from early 20th century print still remembered and revered today to modern Hollywood creations like Bad Santa that we’d rather forget, the American evolution of Santa Claus just never seems to be quite complete. While Christmas in America predates the Revolution Santa did not make a splash in America until 1810. He arrived, as many Americans do, in New York City. A local merchant and leader of a local historical society by the name of John PintardRead more