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What Is Wrong With Christmas Customs?

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 06:59 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The legend says that fir trees became Christmas trees in Germany due to St. Boniface ("the apostle of the Germans"): n 722 St. Boniface, went to Germany as one of the numerous Irish/Scottish/English missionaries. Whilst there he found a group of pagans performing a religious ceremony around a big oak tree. (In Geismar, now Hofgeismar.) They appeared to be sacrificing a child around it. To stop the ceremony, St. Boniface cut down the oak tree. As if by magic, a fir tree grew from the place the oak had been. St. Boniface regarded this as a triumph of Christianity over Paganism, and the introduction of Christianity into Germany.

Another legend says that Luther was the first to have put lights on the fir tree: he walked through a dark forest one winter night, looked up at the sky to see twinkling stars shining through the branches of the fir trees. He thought the stars to be lights from heaven that were guiding him home, through the dark, frightening forest, similar to the Star of Bethlehem leading the Three Wise Men to the stable. So Luther took a small fir home to his family, and decorated it with candles to mimic what he had just experienced in the forest. This experience also inspired his next sermon, and saw him spread the idea to his community. It is said that this is why people began putting candles on their Christmas trees ...


The popular christmas song "O Christmas tree ..." is actually about fir trees - thus the original German lyric says O fir tree, O fir tree, how faithful are your branches! You’re not just green during summertime, but also in wintertime when it snows, o fir tree, o fir tree, how faithful are your branches!
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 08:21 am
Santa Claus is one example, as well as using the Mistletoe and the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, burning candles and Yule logs, hanging decorative wreaths, and carolling. Regarding some of these customs, the book The Externals of the Catholic Church observed that, "when we give or receive Christmas gifts, and hang green wreaths in our homes and churches, how many of us know that we are probably observing pagan customs?"

You answered the wrong person. I did not write the above.
Santa Claus is rather new. Before him it was a goat coming with gifts. at least in Sweden
Santa Claus has developed from the Bishop Saint Nicolaus.
Gifts were first not exchange at Christmas but for New Year, Christmas gifts did not start until around 1600 and in some countries they are given 6th of December or 6th of January
Burning candles was a necessity before we had electricity and was used to light up things during the dark winter. Do you really think people only needed candles one day a year???
Before the owen was invented people had open fireplaces and a log had to burn for cooking and keeping warm. Do you really think it was just on one day a year?
Singing and making music is something which is always done and of course more around festival time when they had time to be together.

If God does not approve of pagan customs there is little left in our lives.
Much of we know goes back to pagan customs like agriculture, cooking, making wine, olive oil, fishing, building boats - the list is long.
Even the wheel was invented by pagans.
So stop driving your car it is mixing pagan ivention with modern inventions
Miller
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 10:12 am
@neologist,
Quote:
Does the current Christmas celebration really bring comfort and joy?


To many Americans,the celebration of a secular Christmas does bring comfort and joy. The 2 weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years are often times when many folks take a vacation and basically try to "cool down" from the tensions generated by the work-day world.

I love this time of the year. I can look ahead and plan ahead for the coming year (2016), and more or less "collect my wits".
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 10:18 am
@Miller,
Miller wrote:
... celebration of a secular Christmas ...
A secular term would be "Holidays", or "Winterval", or "Winter Night Festival" or something like that.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 11:09 am
@Tes yeux noirs,
I just finished listening to a radio documentary which talked about the origins of Christmas in a number of cultures/countries.

There was discussion of Dickens' A Christmas Carol and how un/non-religious it was. The panelists felt that at the time of publication, 1843, Christmas was not seen as Christian religious celebration - that it came later ... with Prince Albert - really kicking in during the 1840's.

__

someone mentioned the tree earlier

found this ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree

Quote:
While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originated during the Renaissance of early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin. Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther who is said to have first added lighted candles to an evergreen tree.[1][9][10]

It is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, in particular through the story of Donar's Oak and the popularized story of Saint Boniface and the conversion of the German pagans, in which Saint Boniface cuts down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaces it with an evergreen tree, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.[11][12]

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[13]

Alternatively, it is identified with the "tree of paradise" of medieval mystery plays that were given on 24 December, the commemoration and name day of Adam and Eve in various countries. In such plays, a tree decorated with apples (to represent the forbidden fruit) and wafers (to represent the Eucharist and redemption) was used as a setting for the play. Like the Christmas crib, the Paradise tree was later placed in homes. The apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls.[7][8][14][15][16][17]
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 12:18 pm
Why is it that Christmas traditions are more or less condemned because there are / might be / pagan traditions involved but never is Thanksgiving condemned.
Thanksgiving has also pagan traditions just like Christmas. Turkey, potatoes and corn were all food they learned from pagans.
Christmas has plenty of Christmas music, stories, church music, hymns and other things connected with Christmas which has come later.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 12:20 pm
@saab,
I'm not aware of Thanksgiving having any religious connotations. It is a harvest festival, pure and simple. About as pagan as it can get.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 12:31 pm
@ehBeth,
It is how I see it too.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 11:43 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/thepastinthepresent/storybehind/whychristmastrees.html

In reading about the Middle Ages I came across an author who said that trees were affixed to roof tops to protect those under it and to welcome the good spirits and an early spring. Sorry, dont know the ref. The tradition remains with iron workers and the custom of "topping out".
http://msc.aisc.org/globalassets/modern-steel/archives/2000/12/2000v12_christmas.pdf
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2015 11:47 pm
You and your religion do not own Christmas. It is also a secular celebration.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:14 am
@Ionus,
That's not about Christmas but about "Richtfest" (topping out/topping off), a tradition perhaps older than the Christmas tree.
That symbolism is similar to that at harvest feasts (aka Thanksgiving).
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:16 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Yes, and what I read said it was done at Christmas time also. Perhaps it was the interim before full Christianity arrived?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:21 am
@Ionus,
At least, there are no (German) sources about such. - In the medieval ages it was more a legal sign of the fulfilled contract - even until recently (When I worked during the semester holidays, we didn't put a "Richtkranz" on the roof if the house owner had signed his okay under the work papers.)

It has always been a wreath ("kranz" in German). Nowadays, small fir trees are used ... cheaper.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:22 am
@Ionus,
If you read it in a novel about middelages it probably was a mistake by the author.
Just because some people to day can write a thrilling books about the middleages does not mean it is correct what is being said.
I read the book about the Popess and found several mistakes and I am not that good at history.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:25 am
@saab,
No, I read very few novels. This was during my research on religion. Wish I could remember where I read it.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:32 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
It has always been a wreath ("kranz" in German). Nowadays, small fir trees are used ... cheaper.
No, trees go way back to before steel construction. It was in the ref I gave.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 12:54 am
@Ionus,
In the medieval ages, we got only few stone houses. That generally changed only in the 19th century. We don't have steel constructed house here besides a few factory halls.

I wondered why your reference doesn't explain why the German word for that "tree" is wreath (Kranz).
saab
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 01:17 am
@Ionus,
lonus
The references you gave about the Christmas tree I did not read all of it.
A Christmas Tree Farm I doubt very much have all facts about the achient history of northern Europe.
The next one is in a "Christian History " site and that is connected with the Methodist Church and I doubt they are very interested in actual facts about achient Nordic gods of northern Europe.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 01:20 am
@Walter Hinteler,
There are long, detailed descriptions in some archives, about the procedure. But those are more recent (= 17th/18th century)
However, the date of a "Richtfest" and the that a "Richtkranz" had been erected is noted with churches and other stone buildings quite often in earlier times (and as source present in archives): it had a legal reason. (The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History had published a booklet about it. I could get it with my university account, but I don't want to spend tokens for such.)
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  2  
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2015 01:42 am
@saab,
saab wrote:
. . . Singing and making music is something which is always done and of course more around festival time when they had time to be together. . . .
I would never wish to rain on anyone's parade. Jesus reportedly changed water to wine at a wedding festival. So, apparently God has no problem with celebrations, gift giving, singing, and dancing.
saab wrote:
If God does not approve of pagan customs there is little left in our lives.
Much of we know goes back to pagan customs like agriculture, cooking, making wine, olive oil, fishing, building boats - the list is long.
Even the wheel was invented by pagans.
So stop driving your car it is mixing pagan ivention with modern inventions
I don't view cooking as an act of reverence.

When folks wish me a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays), I consider it an expression of kind thought and reply with a sincere thank you. Christmas is movie day for our family. I look forward to treating my grandsons to the latest Star Wars release. With the time off we receive in Christmas week, we will make serious use of public entertainment, alternated with bowl games and pizza. And, if there's good snow anywhere close, we can make a day of it. (I'll be in the lodge; my kids can watch the grandchildren)
0 Replies
 
 

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