Why do put decorations up in your house?
Why do you choose which ones you really like to use?
Have you thought about why you decorate as you do? (IF you do . . . smile)
I like angels on my tree (I know, I know, they're not the soft, cuddly figures we all adore)
I like berries, and pine ropes, and real trees. I like certain toy soldiers, and snowmen, and animals.
I thought you'd enjoy reading some "customs."
From the Old English 'Cristes Mæsse' ~ meaning the 'mass of Christ' ~ the story of Christmas begins with the birth of a babe in Bethlehem.
It is believed that Christ was born on the 25th, although the exact month is unknown. December was likely chosen so the Catholic Church could compete with rival pagan rituals held at that time of year and because of its closeness with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a traditional time of celebration among many ancient cultures.
In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated, both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, a popular religous play depicted the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
A fir tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden -- the Paradise Tree. The play ended with the prophecy of a saviour coming, and so was often performed during the Advent season.
It is held that Protestant reformer Martin Luther first adorned trees with light. While coming home one December evening, the beauty of the stars shining through the branches of a fir inspired him to recreate the effect by placing candles on the branches of a small fir tree inside his home
The Christmas Tree was brought to England by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the Christmas tree became by the late 19th century.
According to legend, a kindly nobleman grew despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This left his three young daughters without dowries and thus facing a life of spinsterhood.
The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls' plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman's house and threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were fortuitously captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry.
More next week . . .
Read on for a look into how Molly Noble Bull views her spiritual life . . .
Merry Christmas Cookies Recipe
The honey in this recipe makes these cookies melt in your
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream vegetable shortening,
sugar, egg, honey, and lemon extract until light
and fluffy. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt;
stir until well blended. Refrigerate dough at
least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease
cookie sheets. On a lightly floured board, roll
dough to 1/4-inch thick; cut into desired
shapes with cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart
onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light
brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire
racks and decorate as desireds.
Yields 5 dozen cookies.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar,
lemon extract, and enought milk to make
frosting easy to spread. Tint, if desired, with a
few drops of food coloring.
Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!
Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836