Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the Three Kings (Or wise men) actually found Jesus in Bethlehem. Once again, the actual dates are not known for sure but it was twelve days after Jesus was born that the Wise Men found him. They were Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.
They had followed the star until reaching the manger where Jesus rest. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts for the Son of God. As such, many Christians do not give their gifts to their children until the 6th of January, the day Jesus received his gifts of the Magi.
Of course most children would drive their parents insane these days waiting that long and at least in my house by then, the cats would have ripped open every gift under the tree. Oh, and if you have a real Christmas tree it might be a little droopy by the 6th.
However, Christmas is really short anyway so if you like extending it for as long as you can, you can justify holding out to the 6th. All joking aside, these are the days Christians cherish, and should. To think that the birth of Jesus is all about just one day is to not truly understand what we worship.
How to celebrate – If you can, keep your lights up until the 6th so that Wise Men might find you! Give gifts on the 6th to keep the holiday traditions. Never stop seeking the Lord (for many of us that is Jesus).
Eggnog has been around for quite some time. It was recorded in Medieval Britain as a hot, milky, ale-like drink. It was in regular use by monks in the 13th century, not just as a commoners drink but with a lot of alcohol in it. Generally either rum or cognac is used to “flavor” the drink.
Today it is served both with, and without, alcohol. Originally called “posset” in the UK it is also known as rompose in Mexico and coquito in Puerto Rico. It’s name may have come from the original use of a noggin (a wooden cup) and grog (a strong drink).
The drink changed slightly when it came to the Americas. George Washington loved the drink and created his own recipe for consumption. One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.
We even use it to make ice cream, lattes and candy. (Mostly without alcohol) It is the perfect drink for the holidays and has become a part of the Christmas tradition. And with today being Christmas Eve, you should include it in your celebrations.
How to celebrate – Have a joyful and thoughtful Christmas Eve with friends and family. Create your own recipe for Eggnog. Have a Merry Christmas.
As it seems the majority of bizarre holidays in December are, it’s another food day. Today is National Date Nut Bread Day! If you like nuts and dates, today is your day! It is a tasty treat, normally served up for the holidays. Although, some say the actual date is September 8th, though I say they are nuts! Get it, date…nuts…!
Of course there are nuts in the loaf, normally walnuts, and dates along with treacle or tea to make it that dark, rich color. Scotland is credited with it’s creation, first appearing in recipe form in 1939.
While regularly serve in Scotland… America, Australia, Britain and New Zealand also make date nut bread a part of their diet. Of course since it is a part of the Christmas season it is available in nearly every country that celebrates Christ.
Add a little cream cheese and now you’re talking! A date nut bread sandwich. Though the first recipe is recorded in 1939 I can only guess that it has been around for centuries. Try it coming fresh out of the oven when it is at it’s best.
How to celebrate – Make some date nut bread today. Create your own date nut bread recipe. Keep a loaf around for the rest of the holidays!
If you want to brighten someones day, go caroling. Those who are home bound, retirement homes, hospitals… they are all targets for Caroler’s who want to make the world a little better at Christmas time.
Carols have been around since the beginning of the spoken word. By definition to carol is to sing, or dance, in praise. For Christianity this may have begun around 129 when a Roman Bishop introduced “Angel’s Hymn”. It wasn’t all that popular though as it was sung in Latin which most people did not understand.
In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy, introduced the first Carols through “Nativity” plays and songs being performed in the native areas’ language (Italian in Italy, English in Great Britain, Spanish in Spain, etc, etc, etc). This way all the population could enjoy the Carols, not just those educated by the Catholic church.
It is the time of year to celebrate the “birth of Christ”, or for the non-believers, “life”. What better way to show your happiness, or share the joy, than by taking the gift of music to those around your neighborhood.
How to celebrate – Go caroling. Form a dance troop to perform with the carolers. Celebrate Christmas.
If you haven’t found your Christmas tree by now, today is the day to do it! (it’s getting a little late). Remember you still have to set it up, decorate it, and still have time to enjoy it! So get busy!
Now if you don’t know what you are looking for above is a little guide you may want to pay attention to. I think perhaps the most important part may be the shaking of the tree before putting it in your house…Unless you want a Griswold Christmas, and you don’t, make sure the tree does not have any critters living in it.
The short needle trees work the best but over the years firs, spruce, and pine trees have been used as Christmas trees. You must remember that whatever tree you select, it is giving it’s all. It is a sacrifice so that you may enjoy the season. So respect your tree (and all trees for that matter).
And in a shameless plug for myself… get a copy of my Christian Fantasy eBook, “Why The Evergreens Stay Green“! It’s only 99 cents and available on Amazon or any e-book format you prefer. It makes for a great Christmas read. It’s short and maybe can even become a tradition reading it to your children by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
So enjoy your Christmas, your Christmas tree, and your Family during the season. That’s what life is all about.
How to celebrate – Go get your Christmas tree! Make sure to provide water for any real tree you select. Read a copy of “Why The Evergreens Stay Green“.
December 18th is Answer The Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day
Who hasn’t seen Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) in “Elf”? Good, or bad, the character has launched itself into our society and in some way, gives us something to strive for. The movie came out in 2003 and is becoming a classic as we head into Christmas 2017.
To accomplish this feat, you need to answer the phone in a particular way. “(Insert your name) the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”
How to celebrate – Answer the phone as above (I do not advise this at work). Be an Elf this Christmas instead of a Scrooge. Tell everyone your home is the North Pole
Whenever somebody tells me that Santa isn’t really I remind them that he was. No, not exactly as we portray him today, but he was real. Like nearly every other legend in history, we tend to make them bigger than they really were and we have sort of done the same thing with St. Nick.
St. Nicholas started out Priest in Greece several hundred years after Jesus was placed on the cross. He eventually became a Bishop in the Catholic Church. Of course a great deal of a Bishops wardrobe is lined with red so red became a Christmas color. (The other color is black, not exactly festive) He did hand out presents to people during his life, children were among his favorite.
Legend has it that he is responsible for the Christmas stocking as well. One day he was throwing out coins to the poor and some ended up in a child’s shoe or stocking (There is some question about which it was) Since then, children would hang stocking in hopes that St, Nicholas would fill them up.
St. Nicholas died in either 345 or 352 A.D. but his tradition,and legend, continued on. In the 1800’s he became Santa Claus in the eyes of Americans. Originally St. Nicholas was pretty skinny too, we Americans fattened him up.
So the next time someone tells you Santa isn’t real, tell them the truth. You can leave out the part about the North Pole and flying through the sky on Christmas Eve, that really isn’t important and who knows, now that Nicholas is a Saint, maybe he really can fly!
How to celebrate – Let some legends live on. Study the real history of Saint Nicholas. Let the magic of Christmas lead you to a more joyful and meaningful holiday.