Tuesday, December 26, 2006

AN AFTER CHRISTMAS ENTRY... BUSY BUSY BUSY


It has been a while since I've done a blog entry but being in the world of retail really precludes very much time these days. My camera was store broke all records and we doubled last years sales. The proof of the pudding will come this week-- just how many people will return merchandise that they don't want, don't work or don't understand. We shall see what we shall see. It was a wonderful Christmas for me and I really didn't expect to be. The expenses to fix the car, certain family issues and other frustrations had really put me in a funk. What helped was watching the movie "The Nativity Story"-- a most beautiful film that really brought my "spirit of Christmas" to a much higher level. The constant Christmas music on the radio helped a lot too. And then on Christmas Eve my family gathered at my older sister's beautiful house in Rancho palos Verdes. I have two new grand nieces. The first is Christina Grace Dillon-- oh my-- this child is so beautiful and such a character. She will exhibit great drama and style in her life I'm sure. The second grand niece is named Grace Rene Dillon and she is just a joy. She is named after Grace Dillon my brother-in-law's mother to whom I was simply devoted. If any woman could have been an equal to my own dear mother, it would have been she. I loved her because she almost literally adopted me after my own mother was killed in a car crash back in December 1974. Both my mother and she had great hearts-- actually amazing hearts. The other good news is that my nephew Troy has finally marred at age forty-one to a beautiful Burmese beauty by the name of Nim. And within a few days I will be a great uncle again as my niece Stephanie and her husband Mando finally have their child. It will be a boy-- but we don't know the name yet. Christmas was simply wonderful this year-- and I never expected it be so. God does great things for you when you're feeling badly. He lifts up your soul when you least expect it! The origin of Christmas we may know, but the history of the grand holiday we may not.It is unknown exactly when or why December 25 became associated with Jesus' birth. The New Testament does not give a specific date. Sextus Julius Africanus popularized the idea that Jesus was born on December 25 in his Chronographiai, a reference book for Christians written in AD 221. This date is nine months after the traditional date of the Incarnation(March 25), now celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation. March 25 was also considered to be the date of the vernal equinox and therefore the creation of Adam Early Christians believed March 25 was also the date Jesus was crucified The Christian idea that Jesus was conceived on the same date that he died on the cross is consistent with a Jewish belief that a prophet lived an integral number of years. The identification of the birth date of Jesus did not at first inspire feasting or celebration. Tertullian does not mention it as a major feast day in the Church of Roman Africa. In 245, the theologian Origen went so far as to denounce the idea of celebrating Jesus' birthday "as if he were a king pharaoh " He contended that only sinners not saints celebrated their birthdays.The earliest reference to the celebration of Christmas is in the Calendar of Filocalus an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome in 354. In the east, meanwhile, Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus as part of Epiphany (January 6), although this festival focused on the baptism of Jesus. Christmas was promoted in the east as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinople in 379, to Antioch in about 380, and to Alexandria the Great in about 430. Christmas was especially controversial in 4th century because Constantinople was (until his great conversion to Christianity) was known the "fortress of Arianism". The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400. And now I am told that Christmas died out again in 1790 until the publication of "The Night Before Christmas" in 1812 and then again a few years later until the publication of "A Christmas carol" by Charles Dickens 1843. And that novel did it. For from that date until today Christmas has never wavered as a great feast or a great celebration. How about that? A great writer and a great poem and then a great story brought Christmas back to the world. And great family brought Christmas back to me when i was feeling very down and lonely. So a belated Christmas to all of my friends and family who may read this.

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