Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review: Celebrating Christmas by Rev. Jude Winkler

Celebrating Christmas by Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv.

This book is part of a series published for Catholic children. Celebrating Christmas is more of a cultural primer than a doctrinal download. Along with the familiar stories of St. Nicholas/Santa Claus, St. Boniface and the first Christmas tree, the first manger scene by St. Francis, etc., are other traditions less familiar or completely new (at least to me), such as the good witch Befana in Italy who does the toy delivery instead of Santa. It's interesting to read about different traditions around the world.

Some of it is a little dated, like the nowadays less certain assumption that December 25 was chosen by the early church to replace a pagan holiday. The art is so-so, not really bad and not really outstanding either.

If you have kids under ten and run across this, I recommend picking it up. It's not expensive and could inspire some new traditions in your home.


  1. You mention the "less certain" assumption that December 25 was chosen by the early church to replace a pagan holiday. What about the evergreen tree as a fertility symbol? And is it just coincidence that the holiday is dated around the winter solstice when the days start getting longer? Like Easter, with its eggs and rabbits (fertility symbols), the traditions of Christmas do come from paganism.

    God clearly says in Deuteronomy 12:29-32 that we are not to borrow pagan customs to worship Him. The worst things about Christmas and Easter is that they are substitutes for the seven annual holy days and festivals God commands in the Bible, days that the early Church kept but most modern churches do not keep today. It is because we choose our traditions over God's commands, as well as our blatent immorality as a country, that God is soon to bring a punishment on the United States and Britain so great that about 90% of our people will die in famine, disease, and war. There is an article someplace on the Internet that goes into some of this in more detail, if you want to search for it in Google. It is called the "meaning of Pentecost" or "secret of Pentecost", or something like that.

    1. A couple of things. First, some arguments that December 25 really is Jesus's birthday can be found at and

      As for having symbolic images from paganism, just because someone gave symbolic meaning to an item first does not mean someone else can give it a new symbolism with greater (if similar) significance. The whole point of giving something symbolism is to point to a greater truth, to help people gain insight. It's like Paul at the pantheon, pointing to the "unknown Greek god" and using that as a way to talk about the Judeo-Christian God.

      The early Church worked out a lot of what would be kept (no sacrificing to idols, etc.) and what would not be kept (dietary laws, etc.) from the Hebrew Covenant. Including feast days. It's pretty natural to include Christmas and Easter as feasts if you believe Jesus Christ is God and his sacrificial death is the salvation of the world.

      Prophesying about God's chastisement by deducing it from selected passages of the Bible is more like putting words in God's mouth than speaking the word of God. "The Secret Meaning of Pentecost" web site you reference is not very convincing. Which is not to deny that lots of sinning goes on in the USA and the UK and it desperately needs correcting. I'm just saying we can't know for certain how God will correct it, in this life or the next. We need to pray for the changing of hearts more than expecting famine, disease, and war.