When is Christmas, anyway?

For those who follow Christian traditions, Christmas begins when the darkness of Christmas Eve yields to bright midnight candles and the Mass of the Angels or the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.The Christmas season then lasts 12 days, ending with Epiphany on Jan. 6.But things aren't that simple in modern America, the land of the free and the home of the malls. For millions of us, today's Christmas begins when "Feliz Navidad" beer ads start interrupting National … [Read more...]

Baptists face Christmas, present and future

This is the time of year when many pastors sit in their offices muttering, "It happened again."The Rev. Rick Lance knows all about that. He has long been one of the true believers who battle the waves of "Happy Holidays" messages that define one of their faith's holiest seasons as the civic tsunami between Halloween and the inevitable wrapping-paper wreckage on Christmas morning.The problem is that whining doesn't work. Thus, Lance has grown tired of preaching his all-to-familiar annual … [Read more...]

Celebrate Christmas — gasp! — in Christmas?

Father Dino Bottino didn't expect to spark a firestorm several years ago when he delivered his sermon about the true meaning of Christmas.Still, it didn't take long for outraged parents to leak one crucial statement -- that Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus, isn't real -- to the Italian press. Headline writers around the world immediately felt a great disturbance in the Holiday Force, as if millions of tiny nonsectarian voices had cried out in terror.Clearly, this priest had … [Read more...]

The 30-something days of Xmas

There was a time when Christians did not celebrate a season that could be called the 30-something days of Christmas.In the year of our Lord 1939, the National Retail Dry Goods Association asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday in November. This was strategic, since President Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed the last Thursday of the month as the official holiday. This meant that Thanksgiving was occasionally delayed until a fifth Thursday -- a cruel … [Read more...]

Skipping the 12 days of Christmas

It was around 200 A.D., according to St. Clement of Alexandria, that theologians in Egypt settled on May 20 as the birthday of Jesus, while others argued for dates in April and March.This wasn't a major issue, since early Christians emphasized the Epiphany on Jan. 6, marking Christ's baptism. Then sometime before 354, Rome began celebrating the Feast of the Nativity on Dec. 25. Eastern churches kept using different dates, but the Roman custom became the norm by the end of the 4th century."It was … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X