Thursday, December 23, 2010

Festive Red & White Swirl Origins

My Christmas treat for the season is to go into Starbucks and order a cup of coffee in another language, it's not pig-latin it's more like coffee culture.  I order a tall, peppermint mocha, decaf, soy, no whip and try to get the bubbling giggle out of my voice.  Beatnik's whipping up and frothing up java, dressed chic in black everything and most wearing heavy dark rimmed glasses...what's up with that?  I really 'feel' 40 when I am in there.  I try not to stare at the dessert case when I am waiting in line but I cave by the time I place my order, thinking all the while, I can make that when I get home. Just writing about the peppermint mocha makes my mouth water!

There are so many 'symbols' we latch onto, sometimes never really wandering or questioning where the origins come from.  Candy canes, Christmas trees, Santa are some of the symbols we pull out during this holiday.  There are different historical accounts of these symbols.  The candy cane was said to have originated in Indiana or was it a choir master trying to get his students to sit for the duration of the lesson?  What about the Christmas tree?  Wikipedia accounts for the trees beginnings like this:

The origin of the Christmas tree is obscured by uncertainties of oral histories of pre-literate European and Asian cultures. For example, according to Christian lore, the Christmas tree is associated with St. Boniface and the German town of Geismar. Sometime in St Boniface's lifetime (c. 672-754) he cut down the tree of Thor in order to disprove the legitimacy of the Norse gods to the local German tribe. St. Boniface saw a fir tree growing in the roots of the old oak.
The custom of erecting a Christmas Tree can be historically traced to 15th century Livonia and 16th century Northern Germany. According to the first documented uses of a Christmas tree in Estonia, in 1441, 1442, and 1514 the Brotherhood of the Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their brotherhood house in Reval. At the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square where the members of the brotherhood danced around it. In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame” In that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their guildhalls: Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann found a Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small tree was decorated with "apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers" and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day.

We have honestly never danced around our tree and then set fire to it, but I personally know a few pyromaniacs in my house who would like to give that a go!  What about Santa?  I love Wikipedia, it says:

Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Sinterklaas. He was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop of Myra in Lycia. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.  He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. 

He sounds like a very decent guy!

But the coup de gras of this holiday is celebrating Jesus.  SO many people dispute his actual existence on this earth.  Okay so a question for you... it has been 2010 years since what?  There are countless archeological findings, facts, testimonies, and witnesses to have encountered Christ.  The Bible is our main source of these origins.  We easily, without thought or care will embrace these pagan traditions of trees and Santa yet argue Christ's life with vehemence.  A child willingly believes his parents story about a big guy sneaking into their house at night, while they sleep, and leave gifts under the tree.  The rest of the time we tell our kids that strangers in our home, especially at night, is a really bad thing.  Sorry if I am ruffling feathers here.  Why then is it so hard to believe God and his Word?  John 6:47 says' Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life."  That is a promise, I like promises, especially God's because He keeps them!  As Christ claimers we are to believe in all of God's Word, not just the parts that sit well with us!
We are to dig in and seek our heritage, the pillars of our faith to know for ourselves how things have trickled down through the generations.  God instructs us to 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' 2 Peter 3:18

Should you have unbelief cry out to God, "help my unbelief."  (Mark 9:23-24)  Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."  The book of Luke in the New Testament is a biography of Christ's birth.

These are my ponderings of the day while sipping my peppermint mocha.  To think this post started because of the minty fragrance, that then made my think of candy canes, that made me think of origins.  See I can go backwards and see where the writings of the day began!

Merry Christmas,


1 comment:

Timeless and Treasured, Photography by Heather said...

Haha!! My dad has an annual tradition - he lets his Christmas trees dry out all winter, spring, and summer, and on the 4th of July he lights them up as part of his own personal fireworks display!! There ya go!