Revolution is a great description of America in the 18th century. The colonies were maturing to the point that they didn’t appreciate the taxes from England. For our purposes what was Christmas like in a America in the 18th century? Did the revolution touch culture the same way it did politics? Undoubtedly yes, but the effect on Christmas really isn’t all that noticeable. There are articles on the internet talking about how George Washington bought Christmas presents for his new step children. Last week we saw how Christmas gifts were given, but not to children. Wealthy land owners did give gifts to slaves and workers, but never the other way around. Sadly, when a closer look is given to the giving of gifts at Christmas in 1759 we find that George Washington did, indeed, purchase gifts for his children, but he did so in September of 1759. Amazon didn’t have two-day delivery two-hundred fifty years ago. Many gifts had to be shipped from Europe AFTER the order came through. That means the gifts that Washington purchased for his new step-children didn’t arrive until March 1760. I’m sure the Custer children were happy to ANY gifts no matter what time of year they arrived.
With that look at Christmas, we took some time to talk about which tribe of Christianity was the first to celebrate Christmas. It doesn’t really matter, of course. But apparently the first Christmas tree was trimmed by the Moravians. Christmas celebrations were far more elaborate in Europe, especially in Germany. It would make sense that these “cousins” to Lutherans would be the first ones in the new world to introduce Christmas traditions.
Want to hear more, including a look at how you can witness your faith using a candy cane? Watch this week’s lesson taken from our series An American Christmas.
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.