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***Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas

by Ace Collins

Reviewed December 6, 2003.
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2003.  195 pages.
Available on for $9.59 in hardcover.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN 394.266 COL).

This book presents exactly what it promises.  Some of the traditions whose history Ace Collins covers are Christmas trees, Santa Claus, gifts, mistletoe, poinsettias, and much more.

You won’t find in Ace Collins a person who shuns any tradition that has its roots in pagan times, nor will you find him lamenting that Christmas has gotten too commercial.  No, he feels that in many ways the commercialization of Christmas has gotten everyone to stop and remember more important things.  He explains the history of Saturnalia and the wild, pagan festival that the church deplored.  Even after the time was associated with Christ’s birth, Puritans forbade celebrating it.

He explains how, first in Germany, then in England and America, Christmas became a time for children and families, and a time to remember Christ’s birth and all that that birth meant to mankind.

He takes all the different traditions and shows how they can commemorate great Christian truths and principles and the meaning of Christ’s life.  This is an interesting and inspiring book that will put you in a good frame of mind for Christmas.  It explains the spiritual significance of many things that I thought were only for fun (like the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”), and will give you some ideas, rooted in years of history, for some new traditions you might add to your own Christmas celebrations.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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