Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

December 28, 2013

GLOBAL FAITHS: How’d we end up with a ‘white’ Christmas?

Those of us around here can’t imagine celebrating Christmas anytime but December 25. We want a Christmas with snow, and love the festive mood generated by a Christmas Eve snowfall. Our Christmas carols reflect it. One carol says Jesus was born in the bleak midwinter when it was snow on snow on snow. Another says good King Wenceslas went on his goodwill mission to deliver food and fuel to a poor peasant when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. America’s most famous secular Christmas song says, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” For many years Christmas cards have portrayed a New England countryside with snow-covered fields, evergreen woods, young people on skates on frozen ponds, people out on horse-drawn sleighs, and houses showing fireplace chimneys.

So what decided that we should celebrate the birth of Jesus December 25, seeing the New Testament Nativity stories don’t mention any date? And are we actually celebrating the birth of Jesus or our northern latitude winter?

Historians tell us the earliest Christians hadn’t settled on any particular date. Some, in fact, were opposed to any celebration of Jesus’ birth, because celebrations of the birth of gods were a pagan practice in the Greco-Roman world. When Christians of the patristic era did begin to celebrate the birth of Jesus they at first settled on January 6, Epiphany, one of the church’s earliest established feasts, because the birth of Jesus was a manifestation of God’s salvation. In Eastern churches January 6 is still a celebration of the visit of the wise men.

According to the magazine “Christianity Today,” it wasn’t long before some early church leaders did look for other dates. Clement of Alexandria favored May 20 but noted that others picked dates in April. Hippolytus preferred January 2. Others picked a date in November or March. Eventually the appeal of the winter solstice won out. The Roman world already had a celebration of the winter solstice, seen as a kind of rebirth of the sun.

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  • GN140728 FAIR blueberries.jpg Bread pudding takes Bursting with Blueberries prize Former Goshen resident and current Gainesville, Texas, resident Diana Julien Sims’ recipe for Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Amaretto Cream Sauce won the Bursting with Blueberries top prize at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.The contest too

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  • Briefly GOSHENCripe reunion set for Aug. 16Anyone with an ancestor who was a Cripe is invited to attend the Cripe reunion Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at West Goshen Church of the Brethren, 1200 Berkey Ave. in Goshen.At 10 a.m., speaker Jerry Cripe will giv

    July 28, 2014

  • stephanie price column sig WHOLE FAMILY: Adapting a pledge I can truly honor “I solemnly pledge myself … in the presence of this assembly to practice my profession faithfully. I will safeguard my clients and the public when health care and safety are at stake. I vow to adhere to the legal and ethical principles of the profess

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  • THE NATURALIZED MID-AMERICAN: Master wood craftsman shows the inner beauty of trees I am still surprised by the beauty I see in these lengths of wood, and suppose I always will be. They are testament to the carefully-wrought, intricate, and deep craft of creation. They are testament to Don’s generous craftsmanship, too — for which I am very grateful — which was an expression of the joyful Craft that created him. He and those beautiful boards were cut from the same living tree.

    July 27, 2014

  • Briefly ELKHART‘Dog Daze of Summer’ Aug. 2The Pillars of Elkhart will host the fourth annual Dog Daze of SummerAug. 2 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Civic Plaza in downtown Elkhart. Dog Daze will feature two local bands, High Gravity and MR Z Band. Hot Dog vendors

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  • GN140726 Queen Kaahumanu GLOBAL FAITHS: Hawaiians' conversion to Christianity helped women A recent trip to Hawaii to visit family drew my attention again to Hawaiian religion. Original Hawaiians are Polynesians who came to Hawaii from Tahiti, Samoa, Easter Island and other Pacific islands between 500 and 1300 A.D. These Hawaiians were polytheists who worshiped and built shrines to various nature deities. But on the big island of Hawaii they came to revere especially Pele, the fierce and violent goddess of volcanoes.

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  • Briefly SYRACUSEThe Book of Job presentation Aug. 1The public is invited to experience the Book of Job at a one-man dramatization by the Rev. Dave Marty Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. The event will take place in the auditorium of the Oakwood Resort Event Center, 702 E. L

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  • THE PLAIN SIDE: A hunter finds his delight in God's nature with deer There, in the grass, lies a 12-point buck that the neighbor hit with his van. You quickly estimate the deer at 170 or better. No way. You ask a few tight-lipped questions and yes, the driver affirms the direction the deer was going. He points a still

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