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Over the years, Christmas has changed

December 14, 2012
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Through the years I have noticed how Christmas has changed. The first thing is that the beginning of the Christmas season seemed to start after Thanksgiving. Now most stores start to put up their Christmas displays right after Halloween .

Black Friday is similar to Boxing Day. It is not an official holiday and is thought to have really taken off in 2005. The commercializing of Christmas has in many ways overshadowed the true meaning of Christmas.

We have come a long way since the first celebration of Christmas. Christmas was originally celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.. The birth of Christ is reported to have really taken place in early spring, not in December.

The word Christmas comes from the compound Cristemaesse, which is from the Old English and means "Christ's Mass" or "Mass of Christ." It is celebrated by Christians in many ways; the most common being church services and a Nativity plays.

There are many versions of the story of Jesus' birth. but the one followed by most Christians is the story told in the Bible. It consists of Mary, Joseph, Three Kings, shepherds and random farm animals like donkeys and sheep. The Birth of Christ takes place in a barn with nothing but Jesus' crib and a ton of straw.

In my youth I went to Catholic school and one of the first times I was on stage, I played one of the shepherds.

The Nativity plays are one of the symbols of Christmas that have been handed down over the years . According to the Encyclopedia Britannica the plays were first done in the 7th century.

Oddly enough over the years there have been groups of people have made attempts to discredit Christmas and even have its celebration banned. Two examples of these groups Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans who canceled Christmas in 18th century England. According to history.com the pilgrims in Boston also attempted to outlaw Christmas.. Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, an atheist, tried to ban Christmas in the 1960s by filing suit against Christmas. She argued it violated her rights to believe in something other then God

A look at what Christmas was like in the early 19th century can be found in the writings of Charles Dickens. He created the tale of "Scrooge" or "A Christmas Carol." This story is the tale of the importance of giving to others. The book was well received in England and America and is still read to this day. Plays, musicals and other versions of Scrooge are still shown today

Even in the 1840s, we can see that Christmas was starting to become commercialized and the focus was less on baby Jesus and more on general goodwill to humans. This eventually evolved into families giving presents to their kids without looking like they were being spoiled. Some believe that this was the start of the real commercialization of Christmas. The seeds were planted and the aspects of the Christmas times of the 1840s were carried down to us today

Today people rush to the shops to get those last minute gifts for the family. Jesus is no longer the only figure associated with Christmas. The others now include Father Christmas, who today is known as Santa Clause.

Sometimes there is no real connection to the meaning of Christmas. The holiday makes shop and store owners more money each season. The world has become more materialistic so that big corporate companies make even more money.

I'm not saying that Christmas should be canceled; I just think that the commercialism should be toned down a bit. Even as someone who celebrates Christmas, I personally don't want to be bombarded with endless ads.

Christmas hasn't been forgotten. Each year millions of Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. At the same time millions of kids patiently wait with milk and cookies for Father Christmas to give them their gifts. The poor also wait. even though he'll never come to them quite like he does to the more affluent

For me I always felt and still feel I had wonderful Christmas days. I believed in Santa. My parents didn't have to tell me he wasn't real. The older I got, the more I realized who Santa really was. I think I would have freaked out by the idea of a fat, middle-aged white man in a red suit coming into my house when I was sleeping

 
 

 

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