King of Kings

‘TIS THE day before Christmas, and many people in Eastern Ohio and elsewhere are finishing up their last-minute shopping, and children are awaiting the arrival of that jolly, old gentleman who resides at the North Pole.

Christmas Eve services will draw church-goers as they celebrate the most important date in history – the arrival of the Christ Child who revolutionized the world.

Many people will be gathering Dec. 25 with their families, and it’s also a day in history related to Christmas traditions as well as world events including the assumption of power by some rulers (some of them not so good).

THIS is the season when St. Francis of Assisi assembled the first Nativity scene. Prepared for a Midnight Mass, the scene was in a cave, and St. Francis didn’t have to contend with regulations about a separation of church and state.

It seems hard to believe but Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been around for 74 years this season. Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet published by Montgomery Ward, according to the History.Orb website. Robert L. May, who wrote the booklet, never gained as much fame as Clement Clarke Moore with “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

Moore is credited with writing the poem telling about the night before Christmas, and it gained more attention for him than his learned writings including his compilation of the Hebrew lexicon, the first work of its kind in America.

One of the early rulers associated with Christmas Day is Charlemagne, crowned on that day in 800 by Pope Leo III. There have others down through the years who assumed power on Dec. 25, including Hirohito, who became the Japanese emperor in 1926 and also was the ruler of Japan during World War II.

TODAY’S children wouldn’t have been too happy in the 1620s in the Plymouth Colony. Gov. William Bradford forbade game playing on Christmas Day in 1621.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was even more stringent as its leaders imposed a five-shilling fine on anyone celebrating Christmas during the years from 1659 to 1681.

THANKFULLY, no such laws exist today. Not only are we free to play games, but we can celebrate the birth of the King of Kings on that holy night so long ago.