Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today is the first day of Winter, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice. This is when the days begin to get longer and the nights shorter and many cultures in history have celebrated that in various ways.

I understand Christmas is celebrated near the Winter Solstice because the Romans had big festivities to celebrate Saturnalia at that time of the year. Since Christianity was illegal, if Christians weren't also celebrating they were likely to be arrested and killed.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus was born, but I don't think it was at this time of year. It would have been stupid for the emperor to require people all over the Roman Empire to travel long distances in the middle of winter to be taxed. Lots of them would have died on the journeys so there would have been fewer people to demand taxes from.

But, regardless of the actual date, it makes sense to celebrate Christmas at the time of year when more light is coming.

And celebrations of this holiday certainly involve lots of lights.

Speaking of lights, this is a good time to check the ones on cars. I've seen quite a few on the roads with one head-light or tail-light out and that could be dangerous, especially when so many people are driving long distances to celebrate the holidays.

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