The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 91, Ed. 1, Tuesday, December 2, 2003 Page: 3 of 16
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By Danny Kirkpatrick
Christmas is a great time of
year. Everywhere you go you will find
Santas reindeer and elves. Yet
something seems to be missing in this
most marketable holiday... Jesus! In
fact Christmas has been consumed
by the secular that it greatly neglects
the sacred. Most unfortunate is that
the traditions still bearing a mark to
Christianity have become tainted and
secularized for many centuries.
Probably the greatest way
society has changed Christmas
revolves around the date of
December 25. To many peoples sur-
prise no respected scholar believes
Jesus was born on the 25. It was the
4 century Roman Church that adopt-
ed December 25 as the date of .
by Michelle Covington
There are so many
Christmas traditions that have simply
been tradition for so long that we no
longer question their origins no mat-
ter how bizarre the tradition may
seem. Take kissing under the mistle-
toe for example; why on earth would
a tree-eating parasite provoke this
kind of response?
The origins go back farther
than one might think. In ancient
European civilizations there were
many speculations on the strange
parasitic plant. Most believed it to be
sacred and to possess healing prop-
erties. The Celts believed it cured dis-
eases and protected a person from
poisons witchcraft and even from
ghosts. In the Celtic language the
word used for mistletoe meant "allheal."
'DECEMBER 2 2003
Jesus' birth "in an effort to win the
pagans the celebration of Christ's
birth was changed ... to December
25 a Roman and Scandinavian feast
day" says Robert A. Baker in A
Summary of Christian History. That
is right for over 1700 years the
church has celebrated December 25
as the date of Jesus' birth to compete
with a pagan holiday. The truth is we
have no idea when Jesus was bom
only that it is unlikely to be in
Shepherds would not be out-
side in a starry night towards the end
of winter with sheep. Many as I did
had all of the sheep in two different
places. The first place people associ-
ate the sheep would be outside on the
hilly regions around Bethlehem. The
second place people see all of the
Druids also believed that the
plant was sacred and it was used in
priestly sacrifices to the gods.
However the tradition that
we still acknowledge today comes
from a story in Norse Mythology. The
myth tells that Balder the god of
Love and Light had a dream that he
would die. He told his mother Frigga
the goddess of Love and the Mother
of all. Frigga afraid that her son
would die and all of life on earth with
him spoke to the elements air fire
water earth and plant and animal
life making them promise that noth-
ing on earth or under the earth would
harm her son. However Loki the god
of Evil found a loophole in the deal.
He used a plant that didn't come from
under the earth or on the earth:
mistletoe. Loki made an arrow out of
the plant and tricked Balder's blind
brother Hodur into shooting the
arrow. The arrow hit Balder and killed
sheep is in the inn where Jesus was
bom. The second picture depicts what
is most likely; the shepherds would
need to stay close to shelter while
keeping an eye on the sheep. But the
sheep were not in bams as tradition
tells us. They were most likely in cor-
rals meaning there was not a roof
over their heads. The corral is where
Jesus was most likely born.
Amazingly Jesus is thought to have
been bom with no roof over his head!
What a price Jesus paid trading his
throne for a manger in the cold of
There are a lot more miscon-
ceptions I will close with and they
make fun trivia questions as well.
1 . What year was Jesus most likely
bom? Answer: 4 B.C. 2. What was
the name of the innkeeper where
him. For three days the elements
tried to 'restore Balder to life but it
was Frigga who was finally able to
bring him back. When she embraced
her living son she wept and her tears
became the white berries of the
mistletoe. Frigga out of her joy at
having her son returned to her kissed
everyone who passed beneath a tree
on which mistletoe grew and decreed
that everyone who would stand under
the mistletoe would be protected from
all harm and only receive a kiss
which was her token of love.
So why Christmas of all
times for this tradition to stick?
Perhaps it is the obvious Christian
symbolism that clings to the story of
Balder and his mother. The mythical
healing properties of the plant make it
reticent of the Tree of Life which
bring healing to the nations much as
the prophecy' of the birth of Christ.
Other symbolism such as the three
Jesus was born? Answer: There
was no innkeeper mentioned. 3. '
How many wise men were there at
the birth of Jesus? Answer: Two-
fold. First the Bible does not say
how many wise men there were only
that there were three gifts. Secondly
the wise men were not there at the
time of Jesus' birth. The Bible says
he was a child not a baby when
Jesus was born. This is with good
reason too for they had to travel from
modem day Iran to Bethlehem and
that is far when you are on foot.
A special thanks to Dr. Ron Smith
who helped me prepare this essay. .
Have a happy holiday. ;
days in death the mother bringing
her son back to life through the
dominion of Love over Death Balder
being the god of love and light both
of which Christ declared that He was
all of these point directly to the life
and death of Christ.
The next time you stand
under mistletoe or hang some from
your doorframe in hopes of that spe-
cial someone catching you there
remember that there's more to tradi-
tions than you might think and
there's definitely more to this one.
The hopes of a quick kiss are not all
that are embodied in that little green
sprig but also the joy of the God of .
3 THE BRAND
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The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 91, Ed. 1, Tuesday, December 2, 2003, newspaper, December 2, 2003; Abilene, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth97732/m1/3/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hardin-Simmons University Library.