The cheer of a crackling hearth fire. Colorful cards from friends and loved ones. An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments. The golden traditions of Christmas—gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more—infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ. Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays. Here are spiritual insights, true-life tales, and captivating legends to intrigue you and your family and bring new luster and depth to your celebration of Jesus’ birth. Discover how • after eighteen centuries of all but ignoring the event, churches began to open the door for believers to commemorate Jesus’ incarnation. • the evergreen tree, once a central theme in the worship practices of pagan cultures, came to represent the everlasting love of God. • the magi’s three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—are filled with spiritual symbolism. The traditions of Christmas lend beauty, awe, and hope to the holiday, causing people all over the world to anticipate it with joy. The stories in this book will warm your heart as you rediscover the true and eternal significance of Christmas.
About the Author
Ace Collins is the writer of more than sixty books, including several bestsellers: Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dog’s Life. Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, He continues to publish several new titles each year, including a series of novels, the first of which is Farraday Road. Ace has appeared on scores of television shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight.
Collins serves up some little-known holiday history in this interesting book that teems with Christmas facts and legends, arranged alphabetically by topic. Readers will be fascinated to learn, for example, that the holiday shopping season used to be only a couple of weeks long, but was extended during WWII so families could get care packages off to soldiers in a timely fashion. Or that St. Francis of Assisi was one of the first people to use a live nativity scene to teach others about Christ’s birth. Collins tackles customs such as Christmas gifts and cards, and the popularity of cultural events like theNutcracker and the Messiah (which, intriguingly, fell entirely out of fashion in the decades after Handel’s death). There are chapters on the history of holly, mistletoe, Christmas trees, candy canes, poinsettias, yule logs, stockings and—of course—Santa Claus. (Oct.) – Publisher’s Weekly