December 25, 2018

DECEMBER 25 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY (CHRISTMAS GREETINGS TO ALL!)

DECEMBER 25

336 A.D.

The First Christmas Celebration took place on December 25, 336 AD.  The first Christmas celebration by the early Christian Church occurred 331 years after Christ’s Crucifixion in Jerusalem on April 3rd, 33 A.D. (During the Lunar Eclipse at 5:12 PM LMT) and Pentecost –  which is considered to be the inception date of the Roman Catholic Church. In an old list of Roman bishops, compiled in 354 A.D. these words appear for 336 A.D.: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae.” Translation: December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.  In the 12 century a Syrian bishop, Jacob Bar-Salibi wrote, "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day."  (Note: Orthodox Christians used to celebrate Christmas on December 25th as per the Julian Calendar, but when the Gregorian Calendar was instituted, the new corresponding date was January 7th) Pope Julius I (from February 6,  337 to his death in 352), declared the nativity celebration of Christ on December 25th because it coincided with the pagan tradition of Winter Solstice. Christmas as we know it today is a fusion of ancient pagan practices and several hundred hundreds of years of merging secular and religious traditions. Many symbols and traditions we enjoy in our modern celebration of Christmas were actually derived from traditional pagan northern European Yule celebrations, such as the burning of the Yule log,  decorating Christmas trees, feasting of ham, hanging of boughs, holly, and mistletoe, etc. These are all historically practices linked to the Yule of so long ago.


1025

Coronation of Polish King:   Mieszko II Lambert was crowned the King of Poland on December 25, 1025 and reigned until 1031.  He devised the tactics of two devastating invasions to Saxony in 1028 and 1030,  ran a defensive war against Germany, Bohemia and the Kievan princes. However in 1031,  Mieszko II was forced to escape from the country after an attack of Yaroslav I the Wise, who installed Mieszko's older half-brother Bezprym onto the Polish throne.  Mieszko took refuge in Bohemia, but he was imprisoned by the Duke Oldrich.  At this time, several Polish territorial acquisitions of his father were lost: Upper Lusatia (also known as Milsko), part of Lower Lusatia, Red Ruthenia, western and central part of Upper Hungary (now Slovakia) and probably Moravia.  In 1932, Mieszko was able to regain power in one of the three districts, and thus united the country by his sage use of the remaining power structures.


1914

The Christmas Truce:  It was the stuff of legends which a century later still fascinate the human spirit.  On Christmas Eve, in the midst of World War I,  British soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. It moved them to share in the Christmas spirit. Messages were exchanged between them across the trenches. They exchanged food and souvenirs, or were allowed to go between the lines to recover their injured buddies, or bury their dead.  However, the truce was not ubiquitous as fighting continued in other sectors.   It was a remarkable point in time and was perceived as a symbol of peace and humanity amidst one of the most bloodiest wars in human history.


1916

Polish Saint Died:   Saint Albert Chmielowski died on December 25, 1916. He was the founder of both the Servants of the Poor and Sisters Servants of the Poor. Chmielowski fought in the January uprising and was badly injured so that his leg had to be amputated.  He relied upon a wooden prosthesis for the remainder of his life.  For a period of time he was a very popular and well-known painter and depicted religious themes in most of his work.  His held strong political views, and developed a gentle and compassionate spirit for the suffering of the poor.  He felt compelled to help those in need and served in the homeless shelters.  He joined the Jesuits but later left to become a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis.  (John Paul II canonized Chmielowski as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on November 12, 1989 in Saint Peter's Square.  Pope John Paul II was spiritually inspired by Brother Albert, whose life had a profound effect on him.  He wrote a play called "The Brother of Our God" in 1996 because he felt "a real spiritual support and example in leaving behind the world of art, literature, and the theater, and in making the radical choice of a vocation to the priesthood”.


1941

God is Born:   A Polish man by the name of Jozef Jedrych retold his experience of Christmas in Block no. 10a in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  He recalled that on the night of December 25, 1941,  the prisoners of the camp tried to celebrate the Holy night in their blocks and to help their fellow inmates whose spirits had broken. He described how “.....the singing of German carols began, and then like the waves of the sea came the powerful words from a Polish carol, "Bóg się rodzi"  -  ‘God is born, the powers tremble’..... and others, until the final chord in the form of the Dąbrowski Mazurka  (the Polish national anthem). Everyone exchanged warm, cordial embraces and cried for a long time. There were those who sobbed out loud. . . . Such a grand moment never fades from memory. That Christmas is fixed forever in my heart and memory....”  (Note:  Bog Sie Rodzi was written by Franciszek Karpiński in 1792.  The composer is unknown but has its origins in 16th century Poland when it was played as a coronation polonaise for Polish kings.   This Christmas carol is considered as the National Christmas hymn of Poland, and, for a short time, it was also considered a national anthem.


2018

Polish Greatness (Blog) Wishes You A Blessed Christmas!   Wesołych Świąt !
 Joyeux Noel !
 Buon Natale !
 Feliz Navidad !
 God Jul !
Καλά Χριστούγεννα !
 Mele Kalikimaka !
 Frohe Weihnachten !
Счастливого рождества !




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