The issue: The Christmas spirit.
Our view: If only we could
carry it throughout the year, the world surely would be a better place.
It’s the day after Christmas, and we’re already nostalgic for the holiday.
We dropped a handful of coins into a familiar red kettle. We dropped off a sack of groceries at the food pantry or the local shelter. We bought a selection of gifts for a child we’d never met.
And though we might’ve gotten a little crazy trying to keep everyone happy, we reminded ourselves that it is, indeed, a season to be jolly. We put on a smile and joined in singing everyone’s favorite Christmas carols.
It wasn’t always like this.
The church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus until Telesphorus, the second bishop of Rome, declared in the second century that church services should be held to celebrate “The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour.”
Even then, the celebrations weren’t always held in December. It wasn’t until 320 A.D. that Pope Julius I specified Dec. 25 as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ, and even then, some early Christians resisted joining in the festivities because they fell in the midst of a pagan celebration of the winter solstice.
In its early form, the celebration was a festival more like Mardi Gras. In fact, the events became so raucous in the England of the Middle Ages that Puritan reformers actually banned celebration of the holiday.
That ban carried over to some parts of the English colonies, and from 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in Boston could be fined 5 shillings.
Thus, Christmas wasn’t a holiday in early America. In fact, Congress was in session on Dec. 25, 1789, the nation’s first Christmas under its new Constitution.
In the 19th century, inspired first by Washington Irving and then by Charles Dickens, Americans began to build a tradition of celebrating Christmas as a family holiday.
In 1860, American illustrator Thomas Nast borrowed from the European stories of St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, in creating Father Christmas, a forerunner of Santa Claus. Ten years later, Christmas became a federal holiday.
The holiday celebrates the best America has to offer. Family. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men. A spirit of generosity.
If only we could carry the spirit of this season throughout the year, the world surely would be a better place.
The issue: The Christmas spirit.
- Road must be made safer Eight months ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation opened the new U.S. 31 bypass east of Kokomo. Joining Mayor Greg Goodnight was Gov. Mike Pence. Even the Kokomo High School marching band performed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was the
- SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam
- LETTERS: Christians must stand with Israel 'As Christians we must stand with life' The present conflict in Israel is with Hamas, recognized even in Egypt as a terrorist organization. Recently Hamas formed a unity government with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. They're now the government in
- BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall
Keep eye out for kids
With most local schools welcoming students in a couple of weeks — and Kokomo schools beginning class Aug. 5 (yes, a week from this coming Tuesday) — it’s important for motorists to think about safe driving as children travel to and from school.Law en
- MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i
- LETTERS: Let's hope 7th Circuit sides with couples Let’s hope 7th Circuit sides with couplesIf you blinked over the past month, you probably missed some news about marriage equality in Indiana.First, a federal court ruled that the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional, whi
- CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin
House of Burgess: Bush? Clinton? Next, please
Here comes a sentence I don’t usually find myself typing: I agree with Barbara Bush on something. Jan. 20, C-SPAN aired her installment in the series “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” which was filmed at Bush’s Houston home. “Do you think there is room for another Bush in The White House?” asked host Peter Slen. “This is a great American country, a great country, and if we can’t find more than two or three families to run for high office, that’s silly, because there are great governors and great eligible people to run,” said Bush. “I think Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes; there are just more families than that.”
- State aims at outbreaks More than 200 Western School Corp. students were vaccinated for chickenpox after an outbreak in March 2012.The virus was confirmed to have infected five fifth-graders, the Howard County Health Department reported. It acted quickly to prevent the infe
- More Opinion Headlines