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Candid Christmas

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No other holiday warms hearts and fuels bouts of nostalgia more than Christmas. Right from the title, Christmas A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes, grabs attention. Christmas has been the center of controversy since the beginning of time. Many people argue that in recent time, the holiday has diverted from its Christian roots and become too secular. They do not realize that for centuries, Christians did not celebrate Christmas. Easter, not Christmas, was the center of the Christian faith and even to this day, the date of Jesus' birth is under dispute. Not only are there discrepancies concerning the date, but the other events we have come to know as the Christmas Story, may be just that, a story. Forbes holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is a minister in The United Methodist Church. In addition, he is a renowned professor of religious studies at Morningside College in Iowa, as well as the department chair. ...read more.


The people had something to look forward to for the first half and the remainder seemed that much shorter. During these celebrations, the preparations would have been a large part of the festivities. Candles, torches and burning logs highlighting the evergreens, pushing back the oppressive darkness, is a scene described in the first chapter. Although much is speculation regarding the exact activities at the bash, feasting and drinking are commonplace at any gala. Another element that Forbes is quick to point out is the idea of everyone's favorite holiday icon: Santa Claus. Today, we picture a jolly elf of a man with ruddy cheeks and a rotund figure but many would be surprised to know the legends behind Santa. Saint Nicholas was a real person who lived circa the 4th century in modern-day Turkey. Historically, not much can be verified about the man's life other than he lived and died around a vague time-period. ...read more.


He professed a message that both the religious and secular populations could endorse. Spread goodwill and selflessness and especially remember the less fortunate; this is the basis of the Christmas Spirit that we have come to know. In this concise volume, Forbes presents age-old questions about Christmas and attempts to shed some light on them in a forthright way. He takes us from the pagan roots of Christmas to the significance of what it has become today. He uses a snowball to illustrate the eclectic nature of Christmas. As with any tradition, different cultures, societies, and periods in time have all added their own interpretations and opinions to the holiday that we know today. Being a pious man as well as an instructor, Forbes investigates the festivities thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned. He recognizes the religious importance but understands the secular influences as well. The book is informative yet entertaining. A compliment to both the craziness and serenity that is Christmas, Forbes definitely did the holiday justice. ?? ?? ?? ?? Paula Redmond Historical Methods Book Review ...read more.

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