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Christmas: Celebrating the Christian History of American Symbols, Songs and Stories [Paperback]

By Angie Mosteller (Author)
Our Price $ 21.24  
Retail Value $ 24.99  
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Item Number 413587  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   484
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.32" Width: 7.51" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   1.84 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2008
Publisher   Xulon Press
ISBN  160791008X  
EAN  9781607910084  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This carefully researched book is a wonderful tool for any Christian seeking to better understand the biblical relevance of American Christmas traditions. Readers will learn the Christian history of familiar symbols (like Christmas trees and Santa Claus) and will discover the origin of favorite songs and stories. The music for the songs and the text for the stories are also included. Packed with intriguing biblical and historical information, as well as fascinating biographies about authors and composers, this excellent resource is sure to be used year after year.

Buy Christmas: Celebrating the Christian History of American Symbols, Songs and Stories by Angie Mosteller from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781607910084 & 160791008X

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A treasure trove of Christmas information  Nov 27, 2009
This 472-page treasure trove of Christmas lore is a virtual encyclopedia of American Christmas traditions, including sheet music for 20 favorite Christmas hymns and carols, with lyrics and histories of how the songs originated and, in many cases, how they evolved.

And typical of author Angie Mosteller's resourcefulness is her research finding that although most people may think the lyrics for "Away in A Manger" were composed by Martin Luther, she cites a reference librarian at the Library of Congress who was unable to trace the words any farther back than 19th-century America and found no memory or evidence of the carol in older German hymnals and Christmas lore. (Luther, of course, was the 16th century German clergyman who founded the Lutheran Church, which he called the Evangelical Church and, by extension, was the founder of Protestantism.)

In the book's section on the Christmas tree, Mosteller concludes that the theory that Luther originated that traditional symbol of Christmas is one of the three most plausible explanations of how Christmas trees came about and, if he was not the first to trim an evergreen as a Christmas decoration, he was probably the first to light candles attached to one, an innovation that quickly became universal and eventually led to the invention of electric Christmas tree lights.

The origin, history, and uses of Christmas trees is one of 20 symbols and images of Christmas Mosteller covers, with other topics ranging from angels to wreaths. Twenty Christmas stories and poems, with detailed introductions about how they originated, make up the longest portion of the book, some 150 pages, and make great family reading before and during Christmas. The biblical texts about the birth of Christ are among them, though most are fictional stories of Christmas including O Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" and a selected reading from Charles Dickens' s A Christmas Carol.

Though Californian Mosteller's own academic and professional background are in evangelical Protestantism, her book shows great breadth of knowledge in Catholic and Orthodox traditions, as well.

For example, this Eastern Orthodox reviewer was surprised to find on page 19 that the December 25 date the churches eventually set for Christmas was derived by calculating the Nativity as nine months after the older feast of the Annunciation (March 25) rather than the Annunciation (the Angel's declaring to Mary that she had been chosen to bear the Messiah) being set nine months earlier than Nativity.

This is evidence that, despite its centrality in today's churches and despite ample records about Christ's birth in two of the Gospels, Christmas was among the last feasts (celebrations of events recorded in the Gospels) added to the early church's calendar. Mosteller gives five takes on the origin and history of Christmas, including the evidence suggesting that Jesus was not born in December and how pagan celebrations around the winter solstice influenced the way Christmas is celebrated. For example, she draws a parallel between the Roman pagan celebration on December 25 of "the birth of the unconquered sun" with an early-church emphasis of the prophecies by the Old Testament prophet Malachi of the appearance of a messiah who would be the "sun of righteousness."The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis & Narnia (Everything Books)
A solid choice for anyone who wants to know the history behind the December mania  Jun 10, 2009
Christmas is a yearly event which dominates much of American society. "Christmas: Celebrating the Christian History of American Symbols, Songs, and Stories" tells the story of Christmas, and is filled with many facts and details about this holiday, which is celebrated around the world. With much interest on the origins of Christmas, including misconceptions, strange non-Christian origins, and the weird ways in which some traditions got their start, "Christmas" offers intriguing food for thought. "Christmas" is a solid choice for anyone who wants to know the history behind the December mania.
Clergy, this must be on your bookshelf.  Dec 31, 2008
No longer an active United Methodist clergy, I still keep in touch. This is a book that I wish that I had had for the Advent & Christmas season. Lots of little jewels here for childrens sermon, main sermon, hymnology, and basic Christian education.

This book is not aimed at the professionals, rather at the typical pew family that wants to enrich their Christmas experience or has questions about the complexity that is Christmas. A curiosity: Angie often introduces a paragraph with "Interestingly....." One feels that this is her' sense of personal satisfaction of finding an answer.
Excellent Resource  Dec 13, 2008
This book is wonderful! PACKED with great Christmas history/trivia with a helpful/convincing argument from history for celebrating Christ's coming to earth! This is the kind of book families will use for years to come. I loved the history section best. Esp. the history of all the various popular carols. Fascinating. There are also some fun stories to read to the children that I had not heard before. Really high quality and classy looking. Angie has done all the work that most of us dream of doing when teaching about Christmas to our children. Thanks, Angie! Looking forward to one for Easter as well! Her website is also really helpful. Many of the chapters in the book are there in full if you want to get a feel for the book. I think she is giving TOO MUCH away there for free !! Enjoy!

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