IT’S CHRISTMAS – PART 3

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Uncategorized
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this will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana, USA week of12/8/2014

Unless you are totally isolated from all forms of mass media you can’t help but realize that we are in the middle of our holiday season. Carols are coming through the radio while the CMA Country Christmas lets us all know that there is truly a Christmas. Question I began to ask myself was is there a true Christmas depicted on television. When I looked at the lineup of Christmas specials that spanned a range of time from Thanksgiving to New Years there was no less than forty-seven specials. Television shows that have a Christmas theme number in the hundreds. While many have Christmas in the name and others depict a celebration of the Holy birth, there was no show that actually portrayed the real reason for the holiday, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Charlie Brown is still with us and Charles Schultz insured that the Christmas story would live in his Christmas special. Also, it is refreshing to see Jimmy Stewart holding his daughter by their Christmas and explaining that when a bell rang on the tree an angel received its’ wigs.
At first I was annoyed at the lack of a Christmas story and jumped to the conclusion that factions against the celebration of Christmas for what it really is had won the battle of the networks and successfully removed the story of the Holy birth from television. Then I sat there and realized that I had never seen a movie or television show that told the story of Jesus’s birth. It was at church and at home that the story was passed down while the story is vividly depicted in the Bible. We did hear of the story at school while in elementary school but that has definitely disappeared and now even the name Christmas is under attack in our schools.
Hollywood has not subscribed to destroying Christmas by removing it from our culture. Hollywood has just not subscribed to bringing the birth of Jesus to the big screen. I’m not sure that Hollywood is totally to blame. To depict the Christmas story and capture it in a manner that leaves the viewer in a state of awe and depicts the movie as inspirational is a huge task and would task even the most seasoned director and cast. The story of Noah was recently released without the use of the word God. Despite a marvelous cast and great cinematography, it did not live up to expectations. Political correctness crept into the film and this took away from the significance of the movie. As magnificent as the story of Noah is, the Christmas story is even more grandiose and thus more difficult to produce. Hopefully, at some time in our lifetime one of Hollywood’s brightest and most daring producers will take up the challenge. Later this month Exodus is released and it will be interesting to see if that has the same impact as “The Ten Commandments” did fifty years ago when Charlton Hesston portrayed Moses.
The Yule log has been a part of our Christmas jargon ever since I can remember. But what is this Yule log and where did this come from. The Yule log goes back to the time of the Norsemen, the Vikings. According to tradition a gigantic log was brought to a house and it to be large enough to burn throughout the Norse Yule tide feast. The feast lasted for twelve days. This was the literal definition of the yule log. Another definition goes to the French culinary traditions. The French have a thin cake rolled with cream filing and covered with icing. Some of the Yule logs have bark and limbs made from frosting. This is referred to as the Yule log.
When did we first begin celebrating Christmas? The celebration was originally stopped by certain Christian groups during the early years of our countries history. The Puritans did not allow Christmas to be celebrated. They felt that since the actual date of Jesus’s birth was unknown and bringing greens into a house for decorations was pagan. A pagan believes in multiple gods so this smacks in the belief of one God. Prior to the ban of Christmas the celebration lasted about two weeks. Fortunately the holiday has come back into our lives and even though it is under attack it will stay with us.
Different countries have different traditions that pertain to Christmas. In Ukraine the Christmas tree has a spider web ornament that brings good luck. In Oaxaca, Mexico radishes are harvested and displayed on December 23. These two foot long radishes are carved into nativity scenes and other art and used for table decorations. In Nuremberg, Germany prune characters are bought for luck while in Canada hard candy known as Chicken Bones are a tradition. In Slovakia a bread pudding is made. While making the pudding some dough is thrown on the ceiling and the more that sticks the luckier the family will be. Swedes make a Christmas feast that includes lutefisk. Lutefisk is fish soaked in lye until it turns to a jelly-like texture.
Next week we will conclude our look at Christmas as we investigate the true meaning of the holiday.

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