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Articles Categorized History Christian

Christmas Trees — Symbols of Hope

It’s December, and almost everywhere you look there are Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, and other symbols of this end-of-the-year “Season.” Long before Santa ever came on the scene, people in the Northern Hemisphere worried about the winter darkness. Some thought winter came because the Sun God was ill, and celebrated the Solstice because at long

Yule-Tide Cheer

The days draw progressively shorter in the Northern Hemisphere until Winter Solstice on December 21st. As you might imagine, there are a number of traditions associated with this event that subsequently became part of the Christmas holiday celebration. Here’s a brief overview of Yule celebrations of past and present. ANCIENT CELEBRATIONS The Norse god Odin

St. Nicholas and the Three Bags of Gold

December is a strange month for many reasons, not the least of which is celebration of an older man in a red suit who climbs down chimneys to leave gifts for “good” girls and boys. Not to mention the pitter patter of reindeer hooves on the roof. We had a problem with pigeons a few

RAMA’S LABYRINTH – Free Kindle Edition April 2-6

Wednesday, April 5th is Pandita Mary Ramabai’s saint’s day in the Church of England and Episcopal Church. In commemoration and as a special thank you, the Kindle edition of Rama’s Labyrinth is available at no charge until Thursday, April 6. WHO WAS MARY RAMA? Mary is Rama’s baptismal name. When Rama traveled to the Community

Tamar, Judah & Justice

This is Tamar’s story. It’s not a story you heard in Sunday School but it is in the Bible. Funny how only certain stories get picked out for retelling – especially if the story’s about a woman. Very few women even show up in the Bible as any feminist theologian will tell you. The image

MOKU`AIKAUA CHURCH: Historic Past, Present Crisis & Unknown Future

In 1820 a company of fourteen New England missionaries with three Hawaiian protégés arrived at Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai`i. Seven men, seven women – all determined to bring Christianity and American know-how to islands most of them probably couldn’t point out on a map. Two men were ministers; one was a doctor.


“Okay, I’ll bite.  Why are you wishing me a Happy New Year when we already celebrated the New Year on January 1?” Excellent Question, Grasshopper.  (Historian settles in for a lengthy chat.)  The January 1 date is completely arbitrary, a result of the introduction of the Julian calendar in 45 BCE. “Could you answer my

HALLELUJAH! – It’s Time to Sing Messiah

Christmas is a time when otherwise ordinary people burst into song. Children and adults sing carols to their families, their friends, unsuspecting pets, and even venture into assisted living facilities. Little kids learn Jingle Bells. Adults throw caution to the winds and participate in Messiah Sing-a-Longs. An extreme version of this activity is “Christmas Food


As a writer and an historian, I’m always interested in the way history can be squeezed into unusual and compelling stories. For example, in 2003 author Dan Brown released a mystery-thriller called The DaVinci Code. [Sidebar: Dan Brown has a pretty cool website for a writer. Check it out at] Not only did The