The wave of Christmas season is sweeping across the country. Do you feel it? Soon enough we will buy roosters, dine on poultry meat and welcome the dawn of a New Year. But before then, since we have time before 25th, let’s do a little history.
Long ago, in the distant land of Germany, Christmas had a different name. It also stood for something quite different from the birth of our lord and personal saviour. It was called Yuletide. A pagan festival dedicated to gods like Odin, Njörðr, and Freyr of Scandinavian mythology. I hope you caught that last bit: mythology. We call Odin a myth today because the believe, as in the story we tell ourselves, about him has lost it’s power. But let’s stay with history. King Haakon I of Norway is responsible for changing Yuletide into Christmastide for the German people. He was a powerful Christian King.
The origin of Christmas is a different story. If you go back in time to ask early Christians about Christmas, they’ll point out to you that such a thing does not exist. So what changed? It’s hard to tell. Though we can point to the growing power of Christianity at that time. More and more people were buying into the story of redemption and salvation that the Christ offered. And in moves that would change the course of history, various feasts that happened during winter were transformed into the Feast of Nativity by powerful Christian leaders.
Why am I telling you this? Well, basically because of the central idea that time changes ALL things. It may seem ridiculous to think that Christmas may be absent in the world 2000 years from now. Or that people will refer to the story of Christ as a myth. In the end, only time tested truths will remain.
Am I saying let go Christmas? I would never say that about the most wonderful time of the year. It’s just helpful to know that many of the ideas we carry in our heads were made up by someone once upon a time.
You are Awesome