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Archive for November 2018

History of Christmas Music: more than just carols?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC Music early became a marked feature of the Christmas season. But the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and too theological for popular use. Under the influence of Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, we began to see the rise of the carol written in the vernacular. The word carol…

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History of Christmas: The Year – How could Jesus be born 4 B.C.?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: THE YEAR It’s obvious that Jesus was born on December 25, A.D. 1, right? Not so fast. What we do know is that Herod the Great (who killed all the babies in Bethlehem younger than two years of age) died in the Spring of 4 B.C. according to the Jewish historian Josephus1. The…

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History of Christmas: Nativity Season — snow in Bethlehem?

HISTORY OF THE NATIVITY SEASON You’ve seen those greeting cards that show Joseph along with Mary on the back of a donkey making their way to Bethlehem in the wintry snow. Have you ever wondered: could Jesus have been born during the close of the year, perhaps even with snow on the ground? Weather Snow…

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History of Christmas: Advent


THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: ADVENT Here begins our series of articles on the History of Christmas. Advent begins this Sunday. Meaning “Advent” from the Latin adventus means the “coming” or “arrival” of the Christ Child and is marked by the four Sundays preceding Christmas, this year starting Sunday, December 2 and ending December 24. It…

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History of Thanksgiving Indian: Why Squanto already knew English

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN SQUANTO 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 a Native American Indian of the Pawtuxet tribe named Squanto who befriended them. He taught them…

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History of Thanksgiving: the Secular and the Sacred

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING The origin of Thanksgiving Day has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony. 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 year after their arrival on the merchant ship Mayflower. The…

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