One of the most cherished reminisces of Christmas past, present and hopeful future is found in the many wonderful Christmas carols, songs and paintings. These are the things that draw attraction to Christmas. But perhaps an even greater reminder is that of church structures and the beautiful as well as simplified designs that frequent the landscape throughout many lands. All religions and heritage reflect in their architecture the many designs– some featuring centuries of such art while others find the joy in simplicity that come from God’s earth of stone and wood.
In every case, church represents the demand of societies from small hamlets to giant cities for a place to worship their religious beliefs and social values and needs. The floor and seating plans of church interiors follow the Greek cross or what might be called a T-Shape. Thus, congregations that form the church membership will find it in this static design.
Before the Reformation these styles were an expression of Roman Catholic values. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin sought and encouraged smaller church structures and Protestant church buildings thus dotted the countryside with structures that were more economical. The Protestant colonial churches adopted the English and Holland architectural patterns. In the Southwest, architectural design followed in the Spanish baroque style and a favorite of the Roman Catholic Spanish missions. These structures are often seen in western cowboy and indian movies.
Most modern American structures have opted more and more the adoption of old Greek temples for their beauty but new and interesting changes due to modern technology and freedom of architectural design find more and more to reflect a more independent free style structure.
Families today have a rich heritage in art. Christmas trees come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and decorative patterns featuring bulbs, lights, tinsel, and home crafted ideas of children and parents. Today there exists a long tradition of family preparation. In earlier times, it was common for the tree not to be brought fresh into the home until near Christmas eve after the children were in bed. Father and mother would then set up the tree, decorate it and put wrapped presents under the tree. Children would rise early and likely be the first to see it in the morning. Homes with fireplaces often had stockings with small gifts stuck in them. The beauty was exultingly joyful. Father and mother would hurry down with mother getting breakfast and father stoking the embers, adding coal or wood. Presents were left until after breakfast, sometimes after going to church, and all this beauty was a cherished memory for the whole family. Family wealth varied but love was supreme throughout the holidays with cherished memories for one and all.
Regrettably today such memories really do not exist beyond the tearing open of gifts. Family trees spring up as early as November in many cases so that with the coming of Christmas, the expectancy, the joy, the purpose has been watered down to be thought of as good to be rid of for another year. That magic that once invaded the home of long ago is seen as Christmas being just another commercial season. The beauty that comes from window shopping and enjoying the artfulness of store front windows is virtually gone from the minds of impatient shoppers cramming to get in to buy sales.
The art at Christmas is seen mostly today in paintings such as the Last Supper, winter scenes by creative imaginations, historic movies that depicted Roman times and Crucifixion of Jesus. Artist concepts of the birth of Christ child and of Mary adorn together with beautiful scenes painted for Christmas cards. It is a time for remembering friends and family with notes meant for togetherness and reflection of love at home and those separated by miles.
So ends my trilogy. I cannot speak or even care to rebut those who despise Christmas. I speak nor write no more of this. It has been my belief that no one can challenge my faith. I write as a witness to a long life of joy from wonderful literature and movies of a great era of magnificent prose and heartfelt songs that uplift our spirit and remind us of our many blessings.
TO ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A MEMORABLE AND HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS AND MANY BLESSED RETURNS.