Wooden shoes left by the hearth with a snack for St Nicholas, yule logs, stockings hung, Christmas trees, Candles, tinsel stars, gaily wrapped gifts. Traditions concerning these things have their roots in pagan ceremonies and customs dating back hundreds/thousands of years. Even the traditional date for Christ’s birth originally marked the big celebrations as the sun headed back north again, and (primarily northern European) folks looked forward to a bit more sunlight each day.
Within the past century or so, “The Night Before Christmas” poem, and the Dickens “Christmas Carol” story started a whole new set of customs. Now we have Rudolph, strings of electric lights, huge department store gift displays and blaring “Jinglebell Rock”. And GUILT.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for traditions of family closeness and fun, and I love live nativities and music telling the good news of Christ’s birth. I enjoy Christmas trees, even when no real tree is involved, as in the two on this page. However, I oppose the over indulgence, hustle, bustle and stress, to pocketbooks and nerves, that too often rule this time of year.
Let’s forget the distractions and remember the real Reason for the season, and strive for “Peace on Earth”.