The Very First Christmas
ILLUS: Let me begin by sharing with you a few interesting notes about Christmas...
Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125-136 AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate "The Nativity of our Lord and Savior." In 320 AD, Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In 1643, the British Parliament officially abolishes the celebration of Christmas. The Puritans in America tried to make Thanksgiving Day the most important annual festival instead of Christmas.
Chistmas Carols were banned by Oliver Cromwell, in England between 1649 and 1660. Cromwell thought that Christmas should be a very solemn day so he banned carols and parties. The only celebration was by a sermon and a prayer service.
In Switzerland during the Reformation, all instrumental and choral music was banned from churches. In Germany, disapproval of carols resulted in some being converted into hymns.
Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang "Stille Nacht" for the first time.
The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
In 1836, Alabama is the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
In 1843, the first Christmas card was printed in England for Sir Henry Cole. He was busy man who wanted to save time on his own Christmas letters, but was also interested in encouraging the expansion of the postal system. 1000 copies of the card were sold at one shilling each. It was not until the 1860s that the production ...
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