For the first time ever, I will bring you my Christmas edition of the Earth Images blog, without any of my own pictures. Below are nine fine winter or Christmas scenes by eight different photographers.
Mauro Tronto captured this beautifully “wispy” winter scene.
Clouds and backlight make this winterscape from Gianluca Canello a powerful reminder of just how winter feels.
This towering winter image comes from Google Photos without any photographer info. I love these sorts of pictures. Perspective is important in all photography.
Eric Tischler created this wonderful seasonal photo of some Christmas tree ornaments.
Paul Pearson made this moody picture of the legendary Chatsworth House in England. It appears to have been created through a decorated window from a building across the street.
Christmas is “the season” in Bavaria, Germany, and Rolf Hicker did a great job of capturing the decorated town square.
Prague Czechoslovakia produces an equally enchanting scene in their old section of town. If this doesn’t feel like Christmas I don’t know what does. Pat Charles caught the essence of the mood.
Let’s finish with something different. Bill Maynard gave us a nice taste of winter, augmented by one of natures most photogenic critters, the Red Fox.
I love winter wildlife shots. Starting in the 2000s, I have spent many a Christmas Eve day, or even Christmas afternoon out-of-doors, with cameras, and all by myself except for some wild friends. You are never alone when you have a fox for company.
I applaud all of the above image makers for helping me bring Christmas to you.
The Christmas season is a good time for reflection, and not just for those warm and fuzzy feelings we may have about when we were a kid, waking up to see what Santa left. As I look back, I can use Christmas as a barometer of what my life was like, and who occupied the space in my life, Christmas by Christmas, year by year. I will be forever thankful for all of those people who have walked into my life, and helped make me who I am (the good part). God has blessed me greatly.
Christmas is in some ways, two different holidays. There is the secular/family holiday that is celebrated by many people of differing faiths, or of no faith. A Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and some colorfully wrapped gifts, is what Christmas means to many, all over the world. There’s nothing wrong with that and it is something that many of the world’s people can share in. My most vivid memories of my Christmases were in fact, that family holiday.
The religious, or Christian holiday of Christmas, is scorned by some, but celebrated by tens of millions the world over.
The Christian in me usually doesn’t spend much time with religious holidays that are made up by man. God, in His book called the Bible, does not give us Christmas. It is in fact a made up holiday. So what you may ask? That’s pretty much what I say too. Of all the things that man makes up, so we can feel good about ourselves, Christmas may be one of two (Easter) that truly celebrates God. With Christmas, we are thinking of others, but most of all, we are thinking about the Son of God, who is in essence, God.
Christmas was created by Christians to compete with the pagan winter celebration of winter solstice. It was a way of attracting pagan worshipers to the church. A worthy gesture. As was often the case with early attempts to do so, the converts were allowed to bring parts of their pagan worship, into the church. Different pagan sects were known to bring trees inside during winter solstice, with the thought that bringing an “evergreen” into the house would carry them over from the dead of winter to the spring planting season. Decorating that tree, became a part of the culture. Some other pagan reasons for the tree, are a little less acceptable to Christians. The pagans worshiped at the tree. We of course do not. We simply enjoy it. I can appreciate a beautiful automobile or a fine old building without worshiping it.
The holiday of Christmas, be it the secular holiday, or the Christian holiday, is so ingrained into dozens of different cultures, that the pagan aspects of Christmas are irrelevant. They are long gone. They no longer mean what they meant to the pagans. The act of giving presents, is now nicely symbolic of the gifts given to Christ by those kings in that humble stable.
There are Christian denominations that refuse to honor Christmas because it is not given to us from God. I have no objections with any Christian doing that, if they are understanding enough to realize not only what it has come to mean to the secular world, but to the Christian world. It is at its worst, harmless. At its best it means things like charity and sets an example for how we should feel and what we should do, all year-long. Above all, to me and to millions of Christians world-wide, it means celebrating the sheer joy of the good news that our Lord and Savior came to give us a path to redemption.
We force nobody to believe what we believe. The Lord forces no one to accept the good news. That is always up to you. I have no issues with those of other beliefs choosing to wish people happiness through their own celebrations from those beliefs. I insist however, that I and other Christians have the right to do so with Christmas. We are only wishing you good cheer and happiness. We may hope you will see the light, but we will never force you to do so.
O Holy Night Christmas Hymn and Carol
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A Merry Christmas to all, Wayne