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Merry Christmas!


Ryuji

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Hello and welcome to a Special Article for Christmas! I want to start off by wishing everybody a Merry Christmas! In this Article, I am going to be talking about how the origin of Christmas, the origin of the Christmas Tree, and the origin of Santa Claus.

You can’t talk about Christmas without talking about the reason for the season which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. In the early years of Christianity, the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. It wasn’t until the fourth century that church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention a date for this, although some evidence hints at it being during the spring. Pope Julius I chose December 25 because, during the fourth century, the Winter Solstice was on December 25 so it is commonly believed that the Pope chose the 25th because, up until this point, the Winter Solstice had been composed of a festival honoring the sun god which was set by the Roman emperor Aurelian in the late 3rd century A.D. By setting Christmas on the 25, the Christian Church was trying to eliminate the worshipping of the sun god by celebrating the birth of the Son of God on that day.

The origin of the Christmas tree is part history and part legend and claims that the Christmas tree dates back to the eighth century. This legend is based on St Boniface and the destruction of Odin’s oak. St Boniface was the English Bishop Winfrid who went to Germany in the eighth century to preach the Christian faith as a missionary from the Church of Rome. After a period of apparently successful Gospel preaching, Boniface went to Rome to confer with Pope Gregory II. After a long absence, he returned to Germany, for Christmas and felt personally offended on discovering that the Germans had reverted to their former idolatry and were preparing to celebrate the winter solstice by sacrificing a young man under Odin’s sacred oak tree. Fired by holy anger, Bishop Boniface took up an axe and dared to cut down the oak. This courageous, historically documented act meant the triumph of Christianity in Germany over the pagan divinities. All of this is historically documented. The rest belongs to the legend which tells how, at the first blow of the axe, a strong gust of wind instantly brought down the tree. The astounded Germans fearfully recognized the hand of God in this event and humbly asked Boniface how they should celebrate Christmas. The Bishop pointed to a small fir tree that had miraculously remained upright and intact beside the debris of the fallen oak. Boniface was familiar with the popular custom of taking an evergreen plant into the house in winter and asked everyone to take home a fir tree. This tree signifies peace, and as an evergreen it also symbolizes immortality; with its top pointing upwards, it additionally indicates heaven, the dwelling place of God.

The origin of Santa Claus is almost lost in today’s society. First off, let me clarify that the Santa Claus that the media portrays today is NOT a correct portrayal of the historical figure that the legend is based on. Santa Claus is the Dutch version of the name Saint Nicholas. St. Nicholas was a fourth century Catholic Bishop in Turkey. He would NOT be married nor would he have children as the media portrays him today. His parents died while he was still young, leaving him with a comfortable fortune, which he resolved to use for works of charity. Soon an opportunity came. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money and his three daughters could not find husbands because of their poverty. In despair, their wretched father was about to commit them to a life of shame. When Nicholas heard of this, he took a bag of gold and, at night, tossed it through an open window of the man’s house. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl, and she was quickly married. Nicholas did the samefor the second and then for the third daughter. On the last occasion the father was watching by the window and overwhelmed his young benefactor with gratitude. Thus, the tradition of giving gifts at Christmastime began.

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Article! As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this and I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned something new!

Merry Christmas!!!
~Ryuji

Now it’s time for some Christmas Anime Pictures!

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