President Franklin Pierce placed the
first Christmas Tree in the
White House in 1856.
Born NOVEMBER 23, 1804, Franklin Pierce, was elected a Congressman at age 29 and a Senator at age 33.
resigned from Congress during the Mexican-American War and enlisted as a private.
He was eventually promoted to brigadier general.
leg was crushed at the Battle of Churubusco.
A Northern Democrat,
ran for President against General Winfield Scott, whom he had served under during the War.
Tragically, while campaigning for President,
Franklin Pierce's son, 11-year-old Bennie
when their campaign train rolled off its tracks.
was elected the 14th U.S. President, serving from 1853-1857.
On the second anniversary of his wife Jane's death,
was baptized into the church she had been a member of, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Concord, New Hampshire.
was friends with the famous American writer
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
was also friends with
, who was with him the night he died
wrote in a biography of Franklin Pierce:
"Whether in sorrow or success
he has learned ... that religious faith is the most valuable ... of human possessions
With this sense, there has come ... a wide sympathy for the modes of Christian worship and a reverence for religious belief as a matter between the Deity and man's soul."
President Franklin Pierce
said in his Inaugural, March 4, 1853:
"It must be felt that
there is no national security but in the nation's humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling Providence."
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was an American author and poet. He became famous through his novel,
The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850.
Hawthorne's contemporaries included: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Edgar Alan Poe, and Herman Melville.
Melville read Hawthorne's short story collection "Mosses from an Old Manse" and praised it in a famous review, "Hawthorne and His Mosses."
Melville dedicated his book,
Moby-Dick, to Hawthorne "in appreciation for his genius."
Nathaniel and his wife Sophia had three children: Una, Julian and Rose.
Rose, after her husband's death, became a nun, and founded the religious order,
Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, to care for victims of incurable cancer.
Hawthorne's short tales were published as collections in
Twice-Told Tales (1837), and
Mosses from an Old Manse (1850), with some of the more popular ones being:
"My Kinsman, Major Molineux" (1832);
"The Maypole of Merrymount" (1832);
"Young Goodman Brown" (1835);
"The Minister's Black Veil" (1836);
"The Birth-Mark" (1843);
"Rappaccini's Daughter" (1844);
"Ethan Brand" (1850);
"Tanglewood Tales" (1853)
Hawthorne's major romance works were:
The Scarlet Letter (1950);
The House of Seven Gables (1851);
Blithedale Romance (1852); and
The Marble Faun (1860).
In Ethan Brand, written in 1850,
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:
"'What is the Unpardonable Sin?' asked the lime-burner ... 'It is a sin that grew within my own breast," replied Ethan Brand ... 'The sin of an intellect that triumphed over the sense of brotherhood with man and reverence for God.'"
In his poem, The Star of Calvary,
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:
"It is the same infrequent star,
The all mysterious light,
That, like a watcher gazing on
The changes of the night,
Toward the hill of Bethlehem, took
Its solitary flight.
It is the same infrequent star;
Its sameness startleth me;
Although the disk is red a-blood
And downward silently
It looketh on another hill,
The hill of Calvary.
Behold, O Israel! behold!
It is no human One
That ye have dared to crucify.
What evil hath he done?
It is your King, O Israel,
The God-begotten Son!"
There Really is a Santa Claus -History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions
Christmas Tree & Lights:
origins can be traced back to the 200 AD's, when the early church father Tertullian wrote:
"You are the light of the world,
a tree ever green
, if you have renounced the heathen temple."
(680-755), also called Wynfred, was Apostle of the Germans, being sent forth by Pope Gregory II as a missionary to heathen Germany.
In the year 716,
confronted the Chieftain Gundhar, who was about to offer the little Prince Asulf as a "bloody sacrifice" to Thor, their pagan god who supposedly lived in the huge "donar" oak tree at Geismar.
boldly took an ax and after a few swings at the mighty "blood" oak, an enormous wind blew the tree over.
The heathen throng was in awe and converted to Christianity.
Then pointing to
an evergreen tree
that was next to it, or that had miraculously grown up, St. Boniface said:
"This is the word, and this is the counsel. Not a drop of blood shall fall tonight, for this is the birth-night of Saint Christ, Son of the All-Father and Saviour of the world.
This little tree, a young child of the forest, shall be a home tree tonight. It is the wood of peace, for your houses are built of fir. It is the sign of endless life, for its branches are ever green.
... See how it points toward Heaven! Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child; gather about it, not in the wild woods but in your homes; there it will shelter no deeds of blood, but loving gifts and lights of kindness."
Get the book There Really is a Santa Claus-The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions
at this season can be traced back to the Jewish Festival of Lights, or
Feast of the Dedication
, in Hebrew called "
Candles are lit to celebrate the driving out of the heathen army of the Syrian king
from Jerusalem in 165 BC by
desecrated the temple by using it for idol worship.
When the Temple was cleansed of all the pagan defilement, the oil
, known as the
, was to be relit.
There was a problem--there was
only found enough holy olive oil to burn for one day
, and it would take a week before more could be made.
The decision was made to pour the small amount in the lamp, and
miraculously, it burned for an entire week!
The feast of the dedication of the Temple was mentioned in the New Testament, John 10:22:
"And it was at Jerusalem the
feast of the dedication
, and it was winter. And
walked in the temple in Solomon's porch."
The person credited with putting lights in a tree was Martin Luther.
(1483-1546) was walking home on Christmas Eve under the cold December sky and noticed the countless stars illuminating the night.
returned home, and to the delight of his wife and children, set up
an evergreen tree
placing a great number of
on its branches.
He set up a creche scene under the tree so that the lights would appear as the
stars above Bethlehem on the night of Christ's birth.
said that all gifts come from the
, which in old German was pronounced "
l" (Christkindl), later pronounced "
National Christmas Tree
, December 24, 1952,
President Harry S Truman
"Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men' ...
We turn to the old, old story of how 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' ...
... Let us remember always to try to act ... in the spirit of
the Prince of Peace.
He bore in His heart no hate and no malice - nothing but love for all mankind. We should ... follow His example ... Let us also pray for our enemies ...
the world will yet be a better and a fairer place."
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