Tuesday, January 01, 2008

More "Snow" Than "The Great Blizzard Of 1977"

Every time I see Christmas decorations like this it always brings to mind the Great Blizzard of 1977 when my wife excitedly woke me at first light with an "It's snowing! It's snowing out!" Bleary eyed, I dragged myself out of bed and looked outside. Sure enough, it WAS snowing. The snow was sticking to the leaves and the blades of grass. The concrete sidewalks and macadam streets had too much retained heat and they were wet with melted snow. The air was full of fine flurries, but from the east the sun was plainly visible peeking over the horizon. I went to load some film into a camera. By the time I got back to the front door the rising sun had melted the rest of it.

What I find most interesting about our common Christmas traditions is all of the Northern European symbolism involved, from spruce trees and holly to the snow itself. Bethlehem has a subtropical climate, although somewhat drier than Miami. From what I've read there are good reasons to believe that Jesus was most likely born in June anyway.

Yule logs burning, sleighs, reindeer, even chimneys in houses, weren't the most common sight in the land of Israel two thousand years ago, if even imagined! Still, the customs and trappings have been so thoroughly intertwined with Christmas that it seems like it just wouldn't be the same without them.

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