Archive for November 2006

History of Christmas: the Wise Men

THE WISE MEN You’re familiar with the song that begins “We Three Kings of Orient Are…” but it is inaccurate in at least three ways. We don’t know how many there were, but we know they weren’t kings. They did not originate in the Orient, meaning the Far East. How could they have seen the…

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History of the Christmas Star

HISTORY OF THE STAR The star of Bethlehem has puzzled scholars for centuries. Some have skeptically dismissed the phenomenon as a myth, a mere literary device to call attention to the importance of the Nativity. Others have argued that the star was miraculously placed there to guide the Magi and is therefore beyond all natural…

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History of Christmas: the Year

THE YEAR It’s obvious that Jesus was born on December 25, A.D. 1, right? Wrong. We do know that Herod the Great (who killed all the babies in Bethlehem younger than 2 years of age) died in the spring of 4 B.C., and the king was quite alive during the visit of the Wise Men…

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History of Christmas: Nativity Season

NATIVITY SEASON Perhaps you’ve seen the greeting card — Joseph along with Mary on the back of a donkey making their way to Bethlehem in the wintery snow. But could Jesus have been born during that time of the year, perhaps with snow on the ground? It is possible, as 3 to 4 days a…

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History of Christmas

THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS Here begins a series of articles on the history of Christmas. The Advent Season (Advent means the “coming” of the Christ Child) is marked by the four Sundays before Christmas and is celebrated in the church calendar as one the most festive seasons of the year. This year, because Christmas itself…

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History of Thanksgiving: Friendly Indian?

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN? We’ve all heard the story of how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met an Indian of the Pawtuxet tribe named Squanto who befriended them, taught them how to…

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HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING The origin of Thanksgiving Day has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony, although such celebrations date from ancient times. In 1621, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of “thanksgiving” and prayer to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest in America. The picture you usually…

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History of Guy Fawkes

HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES For our friends across the Pond November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night”, and all over Britain people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with…

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