'The bright and morning star'

As historians have pointed out, Christmas is not celebrated in late December because Jesus was born then (it may have been more like March). One big reason for a 12th-month holiday has instead to do with light—or, more precisely, the absence of it. Throughout history, the darkness around the winter solstice has found Northern Hemispherians from many cultures looking for reasons to make their bleak midwinter merrier. Christmas and Jesus' birth became associated with these winter celebrations. Although Christmas was not widely celebrated until much later, December 25 was established in 354 a.d. (by Bishop Liberius of Rome) as the official date for celebrating the birth of Jesus.

But calendars and solar rays aside, Christmas is really about another kind of light. Spiritual light. True Christmas light that is needed every day of the year, at every point on the globe.

December 22, 2003

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