Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

December 25, 2012

OUR VIEW: Let’s keep Christmas spirit alive

Christmas is a time to be kind to our fellow man. We drop a handful of coins into the familiar red kettle. We drop off a sack of groceries at the food pantry or the local shelter. We buy a selection of gifts for a child we’ve never met.

And though we might get a little crazy trying to keep everyone happy during the holidays, we remind ourselves that it is, indeed, a season to be jolly. We put on a smile and join in singing everyone’s favorite Christmas carols.

It wasn’t always like this.

The church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ until Telesphorus, the second bishop of Rome, declared in the second century that church services should be held to celebrate “The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour.”

Even then, the celebrations weren’t always held in December. It wasn’t until 320 AD that Pope Julius I specified Dec. 25 as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ, and even then, some early Christians resisted joining in the festivities because they fell in the midst of a pagan celebration of the winter solstice.

In its early form, the celebration was a festival more like Mardi Gras. In fact, the events became so raucous in the England of the Middle Ages that Puritan reformers actually banned celebration of the holiday.

That ban carried over to some parts of the English colonies, and from 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in Boston could be fined five shillings.

Thus, Christmas wasn’t a holiday in early America. In fact, Congress was in session on Dec. 25, 1789, the nation’s first Christmas under its new constitution.

In the 19th century, inspired first by Washington Irving and then by Charles Dickens, Americans began to build a tradition of celebrating Christmas as a family holiday.

In 1860, American illustrator Thomas Nast borrowed from the European stories of St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, in creating Father Christmas, a forerunner of Santa Claus. Ten years later, Christmas became a federal holiday.

The holiday celebrates the best America has to offer. Family. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men. A spirit of generosity.

If only we could carry the spirit of this season throughout the year, the world would surely be a better place.

Merry Christmas.

— This editorial first appeared Dec. 25, 2009, in the Pharos-Tribune.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 20, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.