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When was Christmas first celebrated? How did December 25 become the date for the feast? How did the Bible's "magi from the East" become three kings named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar who rode camels from three different continents to worship the newborn Christ? How did the Feast of the Nativity generate an entire liturgical season from Advent to Candlemas? Why did medieval and Renaissance artists portray Joseph as an old man? When did the first Christmas music appear? And who was the real Saint Nicholas?
These and many other questions are answered in this revised and expanded edition of The Origins of Christmas. The story of the origins of Christmas is not well known, but it is a fascinating tale. It begins when the first Christians had little interest in Christ's Nativity, and it finishes when Christmas had become an integral part of Christian life and Western culture.
The Origins of Christmas covers a variety of topics in a concise and accessible style, and is suitable for group discussions.
Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, and History and Heresy are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.