Over the last nearly three and a half centuries, we learn from searching the Internet, that 10 significant events have taken place on Christmas day, beginning with the birth of Isaac Newton, the British scientist who first put his finger on just what gravity was. He was born on Christmas Day in 1642.
The next significant Christmas Day event occurred 134 years later, when George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776.
Nothing significant happened again on Christmas Day for another 142 years, when, during the height of World War I, on this holiest of days, German and American soldiers put down their weapons, exchanged gifts, sang carols, and played a few games of soccer—all the while wishing one another a Merry Christmas. Then it was back to the trenches and resuming the slaughter.
From the battlefield to outer space, it was on Christmas Eve, 1968, that America's first manned space mission, Apollo 8, circled the moon.
Christmas 1977 was a sad day, in that famed comedian Charlie Chaplin passed away. Famed for his roles as “The Tramp” and the “Great Dictator, among many others, Charley Chaplin brought joy and laughter to many.
Only two years elapsed before the next significant Christmas occasion, when, in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
In 1990, the Internet came to life, and we haven't had a moment's peace since.
And rounding out the list of ten significant Yuletide events, it was on Christmas Day in 1991, that Mikhail Gorbachev called it quits, after giving the U.S., and other nations around the world, a goodly number of sleepless nights and uneasy days.
So, as we celebrate another Yule season, we can only wonder: What's next?
What's It All About?
The raucous din of tasteless Christmas tunes emanating from the public address systems in virtually every retail establishment in the nation tells us that it's that time of the year again. Each year one begins to feel that the mechanical and electronic holiday cacophony we encounter loses sight of what the holiday represents. Christmas is probably the most cherished holiday of the year for most Christians. Ironically, statistics reveal that the number of Americans claiming to be Christians is declining with the passing of each year. As of 2012, 73 percent of the country's population claimed to be Christian; down 13 percent from the year 1990.
All of which may account for the weird policies being adopted in schools and workplaces across the country. Before long, wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” may become a federal offense.
The data tells us that we may have just cause to believe that those of the human race who purport to subscribe to scripture may be losing sight of the meaning of Christmas.
Although we started counting our centuries from the birth of Christ, it was a goodly number of years before Christianity emerged as a religion.
We equate Christmas with the birth of Jesus, or Joshua; a name that is said to mean “salvation;” which is what it's all about.
Ironically, although we began to count time from the birth of Christ, B.C., a few thousand years had elapsed before “Christianity” emerged as a religion.
In the biblical books of Isiah, Matthew and Luke the coming of Jesus is foretold, It was in Luke where the angels appeared to the shepherds and made their announcement. And in John 3:16, one can read that: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
This, and a few other related passages, is what keeps the Christians going.
In Romans and in James and Corinthians, we learn that the whole purpose of all this was to fill folks with hope.
There are at least 28 references in 13 books of the Bible which should suggest to the reader that the birth of Christ was an eventful occasion and was well worth celebrating. And if one peruses the literature of most of the other religions in the world, somewhat of a similar scenario emerges.
People want and need something to adhere to, to believe in, and to sustain them through the various tribulations of life. So, why not celebrate Christmas? Why not share our joy with others, even though they may not be of a like mind? Christmastime is a joyous time for everyone; not only just the preachers and the retail merchants.
It should remind us that there is a purpose in life. It should encourage us to think kindly of one another. Christmastime provides us with beautiful music and songs to sing. And it encourages us to think that there are better times ahead; and that even Dickens' little Tiny Tim, racked with rickets and tuberculosis, could maintain a positive outlook as he proclaimed at Christmastime: “God bless us, every one.”
And to this your humble scribe adds his own good wishes: