And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Christmas, December 25, the anniversary of the birth of Christ is celebrated the world over by Christians as a joyful holiday with family gatherings, colorful decorations, traditional songs and the exchange of gifts. Many people also take part in special religious services. The name “Christmas” comes from the Old English Christes Maesse, or “Christ’s Mass”. The story of Christmas is told in the Bible. The Gospels of Saint Matthew and Saint Luke tell how Jesus was born in Bethlehem, how angels announced his birth to shepherds outside the town, and how a bright star led the three wise men to him. The early Christian churches were divided over when to celebrate Christmas. The Western church, based in Rome, chose December 25, while the Eastern Church chose January 6. Eventually the holidays merged and Christmas was celebrated in a twelve day festival that included both days. Now, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and Epiphany on January 6. Each country that celebrates Christmas has developed its own particular customs associated with the observance of the holiday, but some customs, like gift giving are found in most countries where Christmas is observed. Childrens gifts are often said to be brought by a magical and mysterious figure. In the United States, this figure is Santa Claus, a jolly fat elf in a fur trimmed red suit.
The Christmas tree custom was introduced in the United States by German settlers in the 1700’s. But it did not become popular until the mid-1800’s when a German prince, married Queen Victoria of England and had a decorated Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle. Today, a Christmas tree is the focus of the home decorations and in many communities huge outdoor trees are also set up and decorated. Two of the largest in the United States are put up each year in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and on the White House lawn in Washington D. C. Through the wonder of television, everyone may now view them. The poinsettia, a bright plant, was discovered by Joel R. Poinsett, a U.S. minister to Mexico in the 1800’s. It became a popular Christmas decoration because its leaves showed the traditional Christmas colors of green, standing for the continuation of life and red, standing for the blood shed by Christ. Christmas Cards were created in 1843 by John C. Horsley, a British artist. His card was designed like a post-card, lithographed in black and white and colored by hand. It showed a family having Christmas dinner. Another British artist, William Egley, designed a card at about the same time. Both these early cards bore the now familiar message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.
Soroptimist International of El Monte enjoyed a Christmas celebration for their last meeting of this year on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at the Ramada Inn, South El Monte, California. Members enjoyed lunch followed by a gift exchange. In the spirit of the season, it was reported that gifts were taken to the local shelter for the women and children. Moms were given toiletries,jewelry, warm hats and gloves. All the children received new pajamas, blankets and scooters. The boys were given sports balls and the girl’s dolls. Philanthropy is funded by club fundraisers such as the monthly Bunco games. Soroptimist International of El Monte invites you to “Come join us, let’s play BUNCO and enjoy a Tamale Dinner.” The Tamale Dinner will include Beans, Rice, Dessert and Drink and will be served from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. BUNCO will be played from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Prizes galore! Dinner and Bunco for only $10.00 per person. This fun event will be held on Friday, December 27, 2013 at the Dean L. Shively School Cafeteria, 1431 N. Central Avenue, South El Monte, California. For reservations contact: Gloria Olmos at 626-786-8121 or Eva Stoltz at 626-417-8797. Soroptimist meetings are held the third Thursday of each month, 12:00 Noon for lunch and business. Guests are always welcome.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! See you soon, someplace AROUND TOWN.