During the Christmas season, we are surrounded by images of Santa Claus-- yes, that jolly, rotund man with his famous white beard on a mission to deliver presents to children around the world. We see Santa surrounded by elves and reindeer at the North Pole, but where did this image of Santa Claus come from?
Traditionally, Christians marked December as the season of Advent, paralleling the role of Lent before Easter. Christmas celebrations were to begin at Christmas. That practice has been under siege for generations, with Christmas, it seems, now threatening to engulf Thanksgiving.
Christmas celebrations are not all light and warm as we travel around the world.
Christmas in America is warm and fuzzy, stuffed with Santa, reindeer and helpful elves. We get little exposure to the more sinister, old-world European characters, a host of demonic bogeymen that have been adopted into the Christian tradition over time.
Thousands of families in Wichita will have a brighter Christmas this year due to donations to the Salvation Army.
At the former Big Dog Motorcycle building Monday volunteers helped sort through toys to be distributed later this week.
Two hundred sixty two students, faculty and staff from Friends University helped the Salvation Army prepare to distribute gifts to children donated through the Angel Tree program. Major Douglas Rowland says each year, the volunteers decorate the building, plus organize and assemble some of the toys.
We still send out Christmas cards the old-fashioned, analog, low-tech, snail-mail way at my house. And we have an old, well-worn address book that gets hauled out each year for the chore of addressing the envelopes. Sometimes we talk about going to a computerized list of friends and relatives – one that would enable us to print out mailing labels. But I just can’t do it.