Christmas Traditions: LDS Style

December 6, 2008

One thing I have noticed over the years, is that we LDS have our own set of traditions which seem to follow, sometimes other faiths, sometimes they are our own special additives to the Holiday season.

So I am going to run down a few: Read the rest of this entry »


Midieval English carols

December 5, 2008

When one looks at Christmas much of our understanding of the hymns of Christmas come from the enlightenment period and onward when great musicians created some of the best known worship of the nativity.

However, if on examines some of the oldest English hymns one can get a feeling for the thoughts of people 1000 years ago and the songs they held as important to the Christmas season.  Keeping in mind that much of our understanding of these hymns has been coloured by the reformation and the English Civil War when Christmas was outlawed and much of the older traditional English worship was destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Traditions: From SinterKlaas to Santa Claus the poem that started it all

December 3, 2008

No not the more famous one by Clement Clarke Moore, there is an earlier, shorter version by William Gilley.

“Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night.
O’er chimney tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you…..
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where love and peace have made their home”
William B. Gilley, The Children’s Friend, 1821.

This poem, published 2 years prior to A Visit From St. Nicholas, would be ignored for the most part by many.  Even finding information on the poem is difficult.  This version  introduced many of the images of the modern Santa Claus, sleigh, flying over roofs, and reindeer . 2 years later a fat old Dutchman became Santa Claus, and the rest as they say is history.

Christmas Traditions: Christmas Crackers

December 2, 2008

In the United Kingdom, and most of the Commonwealth countries these little wrapped bits of toilet roll are pretty popular.  My family since living in Britain like to buy them to bring back some of the nostalgia of living over there.

At Christmas these “crackers” are used to decorate the tree.  On Christmas day a they are pulled down and pulled open.  They have small cap like pieces of cardboard which pop when you open it.  Or they are supposed to.

The crackers generally contain little plastic crap toys, a joke or motto, and a little paper crown.  Basically they are as good as the money you put into them.

The cracker was invented in 1847 by Tom Smith who thought the sound of crackling from his fire would make a great sound to incorporate in his candies.   His invention sells like hot cakes in the Christmas period in many wide varieties.

Edit: to add a pic of the tree with the crackers in the branches,  and a cracker crown for Ardis.  Btw this tree is our first on return from Britain.

christmas tree

Get To Know John Parry

November 25, 2008

After a bit of a hiatus Get To Know has returned.

John Parry Sr. was an early convert from Wales.  He was born in Newmarket in Flintshire in 1789, he later in life became a baptist preacher.  Working in his home community he was a Cambellite preacher, leading the John Parry Association.  As one could imagine, his was fertile ground for the church.  Read the rest of this entry »

Card and Sir John A.

November 22, 2008

So last night I was reading a borrowed copy of the Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Canadian Years.  I was fascinated to see that he traveled with Elders Lyman and John W. Taylor to Ottawa, to see the Tory Government of the day.

In the fall of 1888, a year after they arrived in Lees Creek (present day Cardston), these men went east to lobby the government.  As they crossed you got snippets of Cards opinions about various locations.  The prairies were rolling, Northern and Central Ontario had an absense of trees according to Card.  (I think this would shock us now)   Read the rest of this entry »

Blowing my mind, the religious way

November 14, 2008

Kevin Barney in the latest Dialogue has a brilliant article, entitled How to Worship Our Mother in Heaven (Without Getting Excommunicated).  This article was a mind blowing read, I think it is interesting to consider the role of Asherah in daily Hebrew life.  But it is how this article opened my mind to another possibility which I would like to discuss.

In the accounts of the war between the tribes of Israel and Canaanites the Israelites are told to give no quarter to their enemies.  Often they were told to wipe out the whole civilization.

In the archaeological record there is some question of the actual warfare during the period and the fact that it appears more likely that Canaanites were the original Israelites.   As I have talked about before historical records of ethnic cleaning in ancient times are often non-existent in actual archaeology.
Read the rest of this entry »