Ronéll van Rooyen
The birth of Jesus is the focus of Christians all over the world and gifts are exchanged to share the joy that Jesus was given as gift to mankind. Gifts need not be expensive.
Here are some affordable ideas:
* Adopt an animal at the zoo.
* Buy food for a needy family
* Use the money to visit far-off relatives.
* Families can combine useful ware and choose gifts therefrom.
* Plants/herbs in bottles painted yourself.
* Handmade photo collage/recipe book.
* Compile CDs of songs or read a book to someone.
* Make a photo calendar.
* Sing a song; write a poem.
* Make pillows from old clothes and fill with herbs such as lavender.
* Video interview with granddad/grandma about their childhood.
* Draw a cartoon storybook of your family’s fun days.
THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
* In ancient Roman times 25 December was commemorated as the birthday of the sun god Sol Invictus and was also the last day of the feast in honour of the god Saturn. It is believed that Jesus was born in June, but the early Christian church changed the date to 25 December to eliminate the heathen connotation.
* The Christmas tree originated from the tradition of ancient civilisations to, with the coming of Spring, decorate trees or branches in honour of their various gods.
* Santa Claus, or Christmas Father, originally was the bishop St. Nicholas, who distributed gifts to children.
* In Italy it was believed that St. Nicholas’s granny put children’s gifts in socks.
* The Germanic god Woden with his white beard rode through the heavens on a white horse. America added the reindeer and sleigh.
* In 1931 the Swedish artist, Haddon Sunblom, dressed Santa in the red outfit we still know him in today, for a Coca-Cola advertisement.
Hanukkah (The Festival of Lights) is celebrated each year by the Jewish nation. In 165 B.C. the Maccabees defeated the Greek/Syrian army after eight days and recaptured and rededicated the temple in Jerusalem. It is celebrated in November/December by lighting a candle in a special menorah every evening until eight candles are burning. Christians can also celebrate this with a special prayer for each evening:
- God said: “Let there be light.”
- The Word is a light for our path.
- Jesus came as the light.
- With conversion we see the light.
- We walk in the light.
- We shine our light in the world.
- The Holy Ghost is the oil that sheds its light on us.
- God’s glory shall shine brighter than the sun.
Michael, S. 2014. “Here’s why Christians should celebrate Hanukkah“.
Millard, C. 1999. “A Children’s Companion Guide to America’s History“.
Keller, W. 1955. “The Bible as history“.
Hurlbut, J.L. 1967. “The story of the Christian church“.