“Old Christmas” is celebrated by many of the Amish on January 7. This date is also observed by a number of Orthodox Christians and is a throwback to the old Julian calendar widely observed before the 16th century. Reluctance to accept the “corrected” Gregorian calendar, since it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, was common among Protestants, but remains for certain cultures within Christendom.
In general, the Amish community celebrates both December 25th and January 7th as holy days. In fact, many workshops and businesses are actually closed from the 24th of December until after “Old Christmas”. This commitment to family and tradition is actually quite refreshing in a day and age when more and more retailers are opening on Thanksgiving and staying open later on Christmas Eve. Below are just a few of the traits the Amish exemplify by observing “Old Christmas”.
Being “sanctified” or “set apart” or “separate” from the world around us is part of what defines the Amish. It stands to reason, then, that maintaining an unconventional day to represent the birth of Christ would be important.
The Amish learn their trades by working alongside generations of Amish men and/or women who already excel in that trade. This commitment to doing things as they have always been done is part of what defines Amish culture. Being slow to accept change is critical both to the maintenance of simplicity and to the quality of the work produced. Maintaining the 16th-century Christmas Day pays homage to this cultural expression.
Part of respecting the Amish is admiring the extent to which they defy modern culture. Living a life of less convenience in order to be closer to God is quite a departure from modern Western civilization. Defying the commercialism of December 25 by celebrating Christmas more than a week later makes a statement. Defiance, in this case, is not a negative character trait.
Though the giving and receiving of gifts varies from community to community, most Amish celebrate Christmas with family and food. There are no Christmas trees or lights and no obligation to purchase the latest electronic game for the children. Good food and family gatherings are the celebration. It would seem this would lessen the stress of the holiday season and maintains focus on the family.
Observing the birth of Christ is important to most Christians. The Amish observe the traditional Protestant holy days and, in this case, an Orthodox one. Regardless, celebrating the Savior’s birth once, or even twice, a year is typically part of being Christian and affords the opportunity to be grateful for the greatest gift ever given.
Not all Amish communities celebrate “Old Christmas.” Those who do, however, take a rare and necessary break from work and obligations in order to spend time with family and friends. Those of us in more “main stream” versions of Christianity may have much to learn from honoring the past and slowing down to acknowledge what is truly important. Merry Old Christmas to all!
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*Post sponsored from Countryside Amish Furniture
Countryside Amish Furniture: Amish Furniture Crafted with Sustainable Hardwoods
When we say “sustainable” at Countryside, we mean it in every sense of the word. We embrace the Amish work ethic, craftsmanship, and experience in the art of fine furniture making. Our furniture has stood, and is standing, the tests of time and our business is sustained by a few guiding principles. Our artisans take pride in more than just the exceptional handmade furniture they craft, but also their ability to pass this knowledge down from one generation to the next. This passing of the torch creates a sustainable business that provides for families indefinitely.
Using only the very best time-honored furniture making techniques like mortise and tenon joinery and dovetailed corners, our Amish woodworkers balance the knowledge gained from their predecessors with the innovation and improvements granted by new technology. Carefully integrating only those techniques that actually make our fine furniture last longer ensures handcrafted furniture from Countryside will be sustaining your family for generations.
Amish built furniture is the best built furniture because we are respectful of the past, responsible in the present, and responsive to the future; the future of your family, our culture, and the planet we all share. We take great pride in our green industry practices.
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