Hyppolytus of Rome believed Jan 2nd should be his date of birth and still others believed March 25th should be celebrated as his date of birth, since they believed this was the day of creation.
This was the time the return of the sun or winter solstice was celebrated.
Pagans in Rome exchanged small gifts. Britain and Scandinavia burnt a Yule log whereby dancers danced around the fire to waken the sun.
As belief in Christianity grew , in the 4th Century Pope Julius the first recognized Christmas to be on Dec 25th. This complicated things because people followed two calendars the Julian and the Gregorian and the Gregorian celebrated Jan 7th which some people still do.
Gift giving first began in Rome, then it was followed with the Magi and St Nick and then Santa Claus.
Adam and Eve plays were performed in the middle ages where they put up a tree designating the tree of life and this tradition, was adopted became the Christmas tree we put up.
In Italy St Francis of Assisi liked to do his sermons in front of a creche which also was incorporated into the Christmas celebration.
The Poincettas came from the 17th Century from Mexico.
Legend has it a boy wanted a gift for the Christ child, so he gathered some green branches from the side of the road, and as he laid them beside the creche, the branches sprouted into red star shaped flowers.
Candy canes symbolize hard rock representing God's promises and Jesus' sinless birth and the red stripes represented the gashes before he was crucified. The Candy cane was a contribution added the Christmas from a candy maker in Indiana. He even shaped it into a J for the name Jesus with a long shaft representing the cane he walked with.
Many nations celebrated Christmas differently.
England added Christmas carolers.
Spain began celebrating Dec 8th, the immaculate conception where boys danced the the Cathedral steps. The children get presents on Epiphany when the Magi journeyed to Bethlehem.
They left straw on the window sills for the wisemens' horses.
Sweden has the eldest daughter in the family wear an evergreen wreath with candles on her head, remembering St Lucia who carried food to Christians hiding from persecution.
Greece has 40 days of fasting before Christmas and the women bake special Christ bread for the feast which follows.
In Iraq they read the Christmas story around candles and then burn a thorn bush.
If the thorns burn to ashes this is good luck and every one jumps over the ashes three times and makes a wish.The priest then blesses one person with his touch and that person touches another and that one touches another and so on till everyone feels the touch of pace.
Poland waits for the first star in the sky to eat, to remember the star of Bethlehem.
Then a 12 course meal is put on the table, one for each apostle and an extra chair for a stranger or the Holy Spirit.
In Russia St Nick was replaced by Father Frost but people celebrated quietly behind the back of the government.
China added light to the tree and children waited for the arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren or Old Christmas Man.
India celebrated with mango and banana trees and placed oil burning lamps on roof top edges.
Venezuela has roller skaters through the streets for early mass or Mis de Auginaldo.
Australia had their first Christmas in 1788. Convicts were shown leniency on that day.
It's still down under so today we can find Santa on the beach.
Ethiopia plays a game of Ganna with hooked staffs remembering shepherds who guarded their flock at night.
But no matter how many ways Christmas is celebrated, the message is the same.
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
It is indeed a message sent to the world so all may know that we have someone in our corner to help us help ourselves, with kind words and positive teachings, promoting love and peace between mankind.
Bottle of Wine
(Women will LOVE this one!)
A woman and a man are involved in a car accident on a snowy, cold Monday morning; it's a bad one. Both of their cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt. God works in mysterious ways.
After they crawl out of their cars, the man is yelling about women drivers.
The woman says, 'So, you're a man. That's interesting. I'm a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but we're unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should be friends and live in peace for the rest of our days.'
Flattered, the man replies, 'Oh yes, I agree completely, this must be a sign from God! But you're still at fault...women shouldn't be allowed to drive.'
The woman continues, 'And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune. She hands the bottle to the man.
The man nods his head in agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the woman.
The woman takes the bottle, puts the cap back on and hands it back to the man.
The man asks, 'Aren't you having any?'
The woman replies, 'No. I think I'll just wait for the police...'
Have a great day.