Christmas Truth: Whether we admit it or not, the birth of Christ affects us all. The juxtaposition of the harshness of life positioned next to a baby in a manger makes us wonder which is more real.
The Christ-child at Christmas makes us long for something different. That longing in our souls is God’s reminder that what really matters is not the busyness of the season, but the stillness of the night — we were made to see Christ and worship Him. May each of us experience Christ anew this Christmas, and like the Magi in T.S. Elliot’s poem after having met Christ, be “no longer at ease” in living an ordinary life.
Christmas Myth #12: The original name of Santa’s team leader was “Ned the flying chicken,” and the miracle of the night was that an unpopular chicken suffering from a head-cold could guide Santa’s reindeer through the Christmas fog. (Sadly, however, Ned was not welcome to join in the reindeer games.)
Christmas Myth #11: A new version of the movie “White Christmas” is scheduled for release in 2016 with Chuck Norris and Mr. T in the lead roles.
“We’re doing much of the dancing and singing ourselves,” said Norris, “and I think we’ve even added some extra kicks in some of the original White Christmas fight scenes.”
“Pity the fool who doesn’t like this movie,” added T.
Christmas Myth #10: A once favorite children’s game in Hamburg, Germany, was to chew through a six-foot string of Blutwurst. Whoever chewed the fastest got to hang a dried, star-shaped, Landjäger sausage on top of the tree. After many years, the dried Landjäger was replaced by a less-pungent glass ornament. Legend has it, however, that on Christmas Eve in the remote sausage factories of Germany one can hear the faith humming of “Silent Night.”
Christmas Myth #9: Not to be outdone by the Americans, in 1947 the Soviet Union produced a Christmas movie based on Kafka’s short story “It’s a Life” where a man named Borst Svelle jumps off a bridge and nobody notices.
Christmas Myth #8: The idea of giving gifts at Christmas time was first connected not to the Magi, but to taxes in Bethlehem. Because of this, the income tax in the U.S. was originally collected on Christmas Day in 1894-1895. In 1896, the Supreme Court declared a national income tax unconstitutional.
Christmas Myth #7: In 1870, naughty Chicago children were delighted to find that political correctness had replaced Santa’s “magical spanking spoon” with a harmless lump of coal in their stockings. Little Edmund gathered the coal from all his friends and saved it to start a small bonfire the following October. With the aid of an angelic bovine, the magical coal quickly burst into wondrous warmth and light that would be remembered for years to come.
Christmas Myth #6: The World’s largest singing Christmas tree was held as an outdoor concert at Grace Church in Bismarck, North Dakota in December 1994. The “tree” that the 900 member choir sang from was lined with green Jello, hoping to insulate the singers in the sub-zero weather while also adding extra color to the display. Sadly, the frozen Jello’s expansion caused the tree to break and the concert only lasted one night. Luckily for choir director Winfred Johannson and the choir members, the fall from Grace was cushioned by green Jello and the sound of accordions softly playing beneath.
Christmas Myth #5: The story “A Little Drummer Boy” is loosely based on a true story of a boy named Hal from rural Persia who played his harmonica for Baby Jesus while his pet pig danced. Several people from the region, however, were offended by a “dancing ham” so the story was re-written in its current format in 1830 by a newspaper boy from Penske, Indiana named Elias Van Strumbellwaller.
Christmas Myth #4: The phrase “here we come a-wassailing” was first connected to Christmas because “Wassail” is a Latin word that means “to sing loudly and out-of-key during the winter season.” Later, “a wassail” was used by the Germans to describe any manger animal in Christmas plays (e.g., “Look, I see a wassail resting at the feet of Mary!”).
Christmas Myth #3: In 1946 Norve Lundgren from Bemidji, Minnesota, carved a life-sized replica of the entire town of Bethlehem and its neighboring communities out of ice. Some say that a special star was seen over the ice manger each night. The replica, sadly, melted in the first Minnesota thaw in early July.
Christmas Myth #2: The song “Jingle Bells” was first written during the Revolutionary War by George Washington‘s top Captain at Valley Forge. It was written in code and sung by Paul Revere to warn newly enlisted men to bring warm socks.
Christmas Myth #1: Danish parents place tiny wooden shoes in their children’s ears so they cannot hear St. Nicholas arrive on Christmas Eve. In the morning the children fill their tiny shoes with fruitcake to save for the Christmas feast.
“12 Christmas Myths” was originally posted on my Facebook in December 2009. — C. Roso