336 – It was a wonderful year if I remember correctly….er sorry just reminiscing. Actually 336 is considered the year that Christmas was celebrated for the very first time. Emperor Constantine I declared Christianity the preferred religion of the Roman Empire and since he was the big cheese, Christmas celebrations became a tradition. By the way another fact no-one but me might find interesting is 336 was a Leap year. Just saying.
1776 – A bitterly cold Christmas Day found George Washington and the Continental Army crossing the Delaware River to carry out a surprise attack against Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey.
1855 – The first organized indoor ice hockey game was played in Montreal, Canada eh. The sport itself is believed to have originated when Royal Canadian soldiers were clearing ice from Lake Ontario and they began playing a game using field hockey sticks and lacrosse balls. This inprovised game went on to become the international sport we know as hockey.
1868 – Despite bitter opposition President Andrew Johnson granted unconditional pardons to all Southern soldiers involved in the Civil War. Wow how about that a President who actually does what his conscience tells him regardless of partisan politics.
1914 – During WWI approximately 100,000 British and German troops struck impromptu truces so that each side could celebrate Christmas. This event is unique since it offered a symbol of peace and goodwill during the horror of war.
1939 – Santa’s ninth Reindeer is introduced via a book written by Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward department stores. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer still lives on today and has been celebrated in a song, a comic book, cartoons and of course the classic 1964 TV special. Rudolph also helped make Gene Autry a singing star.
1990 – Christmas Day in 1990 saw the internet taking its first ever test run. A special moment in history (Al Gore was not there) as the info.cern.ch web server was up and running. Seems like the internet has been around forever.
Just about everyone has heard of the 12 Days of Christmas but there appears to be more meaning to those days than just leaping lords and milking maids. Fr. Hal Stockert a priest from Granville, N.Y, wrote an article in 1995 suggesting the song was actually a religious song. His break down of the song’s gifts is interesting. The partridge in a pear tree is meant to represent Jesus Christ. The two turtle-doves represent the Old and New Testaments in the bible. The three French Hens are the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. The four calling birds are the gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew and John. The five gold rings are for the first 5 books of the Old Testament. The six geese a-laying are the six days God took when He created the world. The seven swans a-swimming are for the seven sacraments. The eight maids a-milking represent the eight beatitudes. The nine ladies dancing refer to the nine choirs of angels. The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments. The eleven pipers piping refer to the eleven loyal Apostles of Christ. Finally the twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve beliefs in the Apostles’ Creed. I wonder if that means the Muppets were Christians.
Have a pleasant Saturday…………………………..