I'm not a scrooge or a naysayer when it comes to Christmas. I love this holiday and the reason for celebrating. It is just that this time of year often brings me to the pits of depression when once again I must deal with family living so far away. Now, don't get me wrong. My hubby and I are happy to live where we do most of the year. But . . . some days are hard. A friend knows this about me and surprised me with an early gift just before Thanksgiving, a nice potpourri of herbs.
|Doesn't my new plant look great in the kitchen window?|
You know who you are, my friend. Thank you!
Of course, the first gift-giving at Christmastime dates back to biblical times, when the three wise men (or Magi) brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as baby gifts when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Gold is still valued today in the financial markets, as it was in biblical times (including its health benefits), but what about frankincense and myrrh? I always seem to forget what they were and went online searching for answers . . .
Frankincense is a fragrant resin found in certain trees (Boswellia genus). It was burned as incense by priests in biblical times. But did you know that frankincense was also used to cure skin diseases, aid digestion problems, treat arthritis and female hormonal problems, and heal wounds, and when burned, to ward off mosquitoes? Today it is mostly used in perfumes and incense, because of its sweet fragrance, but there is some scientific evidence it could be used to treat colitis, osteoarthritis, and Crohn's disease.
|The Three Wise Men|
genus). It was an important ingredient used in biblical times to embalm the dead. But did you know it was also used by some as a rejuvenation tonic, and for stomach pain, kidney problems, female disorders, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and circulation problems? Today it is used in mouth washes and toothpastes (because of its anti bacterial properties) to prevent gum disease. Further, it can be found in skin ointments and creams for various skin disorders, sprains, bruises and aches.
Traditionally, gift-giving began with the first gift, God's gift of eternal life to the world with the birth of his son Jesus. The actual practice of gift-giving dates back to the Christmas celebration in the Middle Ages. An intense celebration of parties and feasts took place that spanned a two-week period, followed by a gift exchange at the end. It is the basis of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. But gift-giving as we know it today probably dates back to the Victorian era in the 1840s (just think of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol), although gifts were much, much simpler then. A single gift would have been a small cake, an item of clothing, or say one small toy . . . perhaps for a girl, a homemade doll.
So now that I have that off my chest, it is time to finish the shopping, write the Christmas letter, send the cards, (decorations DID go up early), and mail those packages. We are elves to six wonderful grandchildren, and I am finally in the mood!
Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
Sources: www.frankincenseandmyrrh.net/; www.dl-uk.info/christmas-gift-sending-tradition-history-origin.html; wikipedia